Archive | happiness RSS feed for this section

8 Staples in a Spanish Kitchen

20 Jul


1. Mayonnaise. Whether purchased or home made (they swear that it tastes better but my foreign palate doesn’t notice the lack of preservatives), they always have it for Russian or other cool summer salads. I can’t say for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if they eat it with a soon sometimes.

2. Olive oil. My family has a 2 gallon container and we need it! It’s about 30% cheaper here and they even use it for deep frying.

3. Wine. You knew it was coming… Spain boasts of having some of the best wine in the world. Unfortunately it’s completely wasted on me. I do have some cool corks though!


4. Tomato. Paste for toast, sauce for pasta, eating by itself, and Gazpacho (Every night baby).

5. Galletas. Cookies here are basically jazzed up gram crackers:galletas dipped in chocolate, chocolate galleta sandwiches, plain galletas… if they had some sort of tomato galleta I wouldn’t be surprised.
**I introduced my family to s’mores with a galleta base and it was a hit!

6. Coffee. This isn’t so much a staple as much as a lifestyle: after lunch we get coffee. Period. Unless you’re craving a fanta limon like I usually am…. that’s cool too.


7. Cigarettes. Although not technically a food, they’re definitely a staple. Thankfully it’s been illegal to smoke inside buildings for the past ten years because the most frequent smokers I see are restaurant cooks standing in front of their joints.


8. Jamon. Ham from pigs that only live in a certain region of the country, run wild in the nuts, and eat a specific blend of expensive nuts.
**they have the midst DELICIOUS jamon-flavored ruffles. It sounds weird but man it’s goooood.


Why Spanish Women Should (and do) Wear Perfume

17 Jul

Sorry that its taken so long for me to update… before I came I thought that I would have more time, but I’ve been so focused on learning spanish and sight-seeing that I’ve barely had time to enjoy the tapas!

Before coming to Spain, I knew that Europeans kiss on the cheek when meeting someone for the first time, but for some reason I thought that my passport would give me immunity.b_w_humor_kiss_vintage_black_and_white_funny

Of course, my first day at work was a whirlwind of kissing and pleasantries. When I first got to the office, my co-worker took me around and introduced me to every single person.

The Spanish way. Continue reading

How to be Friends Without Creeping into the Mary Kate and Ashley Territory

7 May

I’m no friendship expert, but I think that the best friends are the ones that are most different from you.

I have a friend… we’ll call her “Kelsey”. While we’re at it, lets give her a really cute last name too… How about “Darling”?

vintage makeup

Kelsey and I are about as similar as MAC and NYC makeup brands (not NYX (for the uninitiated male go to this link (I think I’ll nest parentheses more often))).

She cleans the dishes, and I take too long to pull my clothes out of the laundry.

She’s five minutes early; I’m like the eagles that opportunely appear throughout the Lord of the Rings movies… just on time.

She subconsciously only buys earrings with triangle designs. I buy every cute pair of earrings I can find under $10.


She hates my major. I hate her job.

What in the world could we possibly have in common?

We both like cheesecake, we’re both really good about maintaining the TP supply in our respective bathrooms, and we both enjoy dating Ryan Gosling (although neither of us has ever tried it).



17 Apr

time to make soul happy

How to Make Enemies and be Influenced by People

5 Apr

If you’re not aware of Dale Carnegie’s Book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” I suggest you get out from under the rock you’ve been hiding under and make your way to a thrift store to find a copy (only the very best and worst books end up in thrift stores… have you ever noticed how many copies of the Bible, Harry Potter, and Twilight thrift stores have?).  Otherwise, check out this link.


When my parents realized that I didn’t have any friends (in middle school) they bought me a copy.  I suppose that I’d grown out of the “Care and Keeping of Friends”  by American Girl and it was time to move on.

The book is oozing with great leadership tips and skills. A few drops managed to land on my computer screen today. Thankfully.


Dale’s Tips (lets see if there are any shocking ideas…)

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Solid advice. If anyone is looking to make new friends, this is USUALLY the way to do it. Although I think that advice is considered “good” because it doesn’t come naturally for most people.

Unfortunately, I know a few people who are a little too natural at these things… If you lived by these tips you would be a selfless communicator which I s good ( I guess?) but no one would want to talk to you.


People who smile too much are creepy.

People who listen too well seem to have no opinions.

People who say foreign names in an accent usually sound dumb (although I suppose it’s the effort that counts!)

As in everything, find a balance and be happy.  Thanks for the tips Dale!

The Thing I Hate Most About Blogging

18 Mar

I hate that I always write for other people.

Every time I write a blog post I do it because I see a problem that I want to fix, a friend suggests a unique topic, I’m trying to be funny, or I want to share something interesting I found.

st patrics day

If i wrote about what I think about 90% of the time, it would be a boring list of people who bother me, anxieties I feel about my future, boys who wont date me, guilt about eating an extra cookie or brownie, world problems I would love to solve if I had more time and money, how pathetic my spanish study is going, the amount of time it took me to get to school today (15 min! One of my fastest times), ect.

Super exciting.


I suppose it’s time to invest in a journal.  And a giant clover.



Cuatro Cosas

26 Feb

1) I’ve wanted one of these dresses for YEARS. Someday, I’m going to caugh up a couple hundred rupees to buy one, but in the mean time I’ll just pin a bunch of them on my pinterest board.

indian dress

2) Winston Chur-chill. I’ve been on a mini Churhill kick lately… had I been alive a few years earlier, I think we would have been friends (assuming that I was farily well-connected and British).


3)  I’m trying to figure out how to put one of these above my parent’s hot tub. Any ideas?


4) TED EX @ BYU.  I’m goin on March 21st. #dreamcometrue


Bonus. The sun. It’s finally back and it makes me feel great!

Don’t Date a Girl who Travels

3 Feb

travel girl

She’s the one with the messy unkempt hair colored by the sun. Her skin is now far from fair like it once was. Not even sun kissed. It’s burnt with multiple tan lines, wounds and bites here and there. But for every flaw on her skin, she has an interesting story to tell.

Don’t date a girl who travels. She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures. She will be unimpressed with your new car and your expensive watch. She would rather climb a rock or jump out of an airplane than hear you brag about it.


Don’t date a girl who travels because she will bug you to book a flight every time there’s an airline seat sale. She wont party at Republiq. And she will never pay over $100 for Avicii because she knows that one weekend of clubbing is equivalent to one week somewhere far more exciting.

Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting. She doesn’t want to keep working her ass off for someone else’s dream. She has her own and is working towards it. She is a freelancer. She makes money from designing, writing, photography or something that requires creativity and imagination. Don’t waste her time complaining about your boring job.


Don’t date a girl who travels. She might have wasted her college degree and switched careers entirely. She is now a dive instructor or a yoga teacher. She’s not sure when the next paycheck is coming. But she doesn’t work like a robot all day, she goes out and takes what life has to offer and challenges you to do the same.

Don’t date a girl who travels for she has chosen a life of uncertainty. She doesn’t have a plan or a permanent address. She goes with the flow and follows her heart. She dances to the beat of her own drum. She doesn’t wear a watch. Her days are ruled by the sun and the moon. When the waves are calling, life stops and she will be oblivious to everything else for a moment. But she has learned that the most important thing in life isn’t surfing.

travel vintage

Don’t date a girl who travels as she tends to speak her mind. She will never try to impress your parents or friends. She knows respect, but isn’t afraid to hold a debate about global issues or social responsibility.

She will never need you. She knows how to pitch a tent and screw her own fins without your help. She cooks well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals. She is too independent and wont care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. She’s busy living in the present. She talks to strangers. She will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams. She will be bored with you.

So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.

This article has resonated with so many women around the world and has been translated into over 20 different languages including Spanish (EU & SA), Portuguese (EU & Brazil), German, Italian, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, French-Canadian, Dutch, Greek, Danish, Swedish, Croatian, Estonian, Russian, Czech, European Spanish and Thai.

The Best Therapy I’ve Ever Had

27 Jan


Every Mormon missionary knows the phrase, “forget yourself and go to work.”

The quote is famous because it was written in a letter to one of the presidents of the church while he was a young man. It came at a point in his mission when the thought of violating one more “No Trespassing” or “No Soliciting” sign to knock a door seemed like too much (or maybe I was the only one who got sick of people yelling at us for ignoring those signs).no missionary

Anyway, the story goes that after he read the letter, it gave him the motivation he needed to overcome his desire to quit, finish his mission, and later became the president of the church.

Just like the advice my mom has given me for the past 6 years —  learn to cut guys hair so that I can make money AND get more dates — the quote went in one ear and out the other. Until this semester.

Over the past few weeks, my motivation for doing my daily tasks has changed and “going to work” is the only thing that makes sense.

What changed my perspective?

My Organizational Behavior professor has given the class an assignment to make a goal to change something about our lives, set benchmarks, develop a reward system and in true college form, write a meaningful, five page paper that will probably be used as kindling for my hippie TA’s campfire after she spends a total of 23 seconds reading it.

Setting goals is easy; developing a reward system has been about as hard as it was for me to ask people who were much older, wiser, and more religious than me to call me “sister” (often prompting the question, “are you a Nun?”).MissionaryTag

I have no internal desire to do it.

This assignment made me realize that I don’t need to develop a surface level reward system (treat myself to ice cream, clothes, or a day at the spa) because it’s better to be motivated by core values.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my core values and I find that when I make value-centered life goals — much like the mission-centered goals I used to make– I’m much happier and more fulfilled.


“Going to work” everyday helps me find purpose in mundane tasks.  I no longer worry about achieving things that others consider to be “great” in order to be happy.

My life has become my reward. 

You Can Buy Happiness, but Not with Money

19 Jan

An investment in gratitude pays valuable dividends, especially when times are tough.

By Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, Rodale.commasks

Many people today are struggling to make do with less. What’s the secret to finding happiness when you’re coping with loss? If we observe people who know how to be happy, we find that they make a point of being grateful for whatever they have. And it’s not related to how much material wealth you may or may not possess. A growing body of research has demonstrated that grateful people are happier than their less-grateful counterparts, regardless of their income level.

THE DETAILS: Gratitude has also been found to be a powerful antidote to depression. Martin Seligman, PhD, a pioneer in the positive psychology movement, and colleagues at University of Pennsylvania delivered gratitude instructions to 50 severely depressed visitors to a self-help website. They recommended that individuals take time each day to write down three things that went well that day, and why they thought so. Fifteen days later, 94 percent of the 50 individuals reported feeling significantly less depressed. Their scores on a widely used depression inventory dropped by 50 percent — equivalent to improvement seen with medication treatment or psychotherapy, although the latter interventions generally take longer to work. Individuals in a placebo-controlled group who wrote down three childhood memories each day did not experience an improvement in their depressive symptoms. More important, the effects for the group practicing gratitude lasted for a full 6 months. The researchers repeated the same study several months later with a different group of depressed Web users and obtained substantially the same results. Seligman’s group also found that writing in a gratitude journal had a mood-boosting effect for depressed patients in a 12-week therapy group, as well as for patients in individual therapy.

bad breath

WHAT IT MEANS: Cultivating gratitude is a powerful way to overcome adversity and depression. By choosing to focus on your blessings, rather than ruminating on your disappointments and deficits, you nourish positive feelings about yourself, your life, and others. As an ongoing attitude, gratitude will help you cultivate happiness throughout your life. It is no accident that the individuals in Seligman’s study maintained their gains long after they completed the online intervention. Gratitude is habit-forming. The number of things you can be grateful for is infinite. As a happiness resource, gratitude is free and inexhaustible.

There are many ways you can weave gratitude into the fabric of your life:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, write down three things you experienced that you feel grateful for. They could be as varied as the buds appearing on the trees in your yard and appreciation for the kindness extended to you by a stranger. As you chronicle the things you feel grateful for, make a point of not repeating any of the prior entries in your journal.
  • Write and deliver a gratitude letter to someone in your life whom you have not properly thanked for what they have given to you. You can deliver the letter in personor read it over the telephone. It’s a powerful experience, for you as well as for the person you’re thanking.
  • Say grace before each meal to express your thanks for the food you are about to eat.
    Use whatever language you’re comfortable with, whether religious, spiritual, or just an informal expression of gratitude for the meal.
  • Make a point of thanking anyone who serves you in any way — the cashier at the checkout counter, your child for clearing the dinner table, the tech-support person who helped you fix your computer.
  • Take gratitude breaks during the course of each day to simply appreciate the myriad blessings, large and small, that are present in your life.

Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, is a advisor and director of life management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA. His column, “Mind-Body-Mood Advisor,” appears weekly on

%d bloggers like this: