cookbooks, Cooking, nonfiction

November’s Happiness Project: Food and Gratitude

Time: // 7:09 a.m. Monday morning

The scene: // my little sisters are getting ready for school, Spongebob Squarepants is playing in the background, and of course, I’m drinking my second cup of coffee. It’s so nice and chilly outside, a little more than 50 degrees.

Spending October de-cluttering and time management was helpful. I culled and rearranged, repeating the cycle as often as I needed to. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re much better.

One of the things I’m focusing on this month is eating better. After years of being a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl, it’s time for me to have a more rounded, more diverse diet. Thanks to my boyfriend, who loves cuisine from all over the world, I’ve been getting out of my eating comfort zone. I want to step out of that zone even more, so I’ve checked out a number of cookbooks to find inspiration and new meals to make.


L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi. I reviewed this cookbook earlier this year and figured it was time to try some of the recipes out.

Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck

The World’s Best Spicy Food: Where to find it and How to Make It by Lonely Planet

Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-To-Make Salads You Don’t Have to be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero

The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey – From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond by Marvin Gapultos

The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen

Joy the Baker by Joy Wilson

Momfuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi (Because everyone needs sweets once in a while.)

Not pictured: Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes For People who Totally Love Food by Jessica Merchant

It may seem like a lot of cookbooks, but it’s really not. I’ve already started browsing through most of them for meal ideas and there are so many recipes that I can’t wait to try. You can expect me to post my results throughout November.

Be Grateful

There are so many things going on in my life that it’s easy to panic and get stressed out. Instead, I want to enjoy and acknowledge the good around me. Every night, I’m writing down a list of things I’m grateful for while privately participating in #100HappyDays. I may not take a picture every day, but it’s brought a smile to my face several times.

What do you have planned for November?

Happiness Project, Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon: Week 3 of My Happiness Project

sunday salonTime: // 12:46 p.m. – Saturday afternoon

The scene: // The sun is out and shining. If you didn’t already know it, you wouldn’t think it was fall. It feels more like summer, but for once, I don’t mind. My mood matches the weather. Tomorrow morning, as this post appears on my blog, I should be at a local park that has plenty of acres to explore or at the beach with the kids.

As with any goal, there has been some hits and misses with my ongoing happiness project as I de-clutter and try to manage my time better. Here’s what I learned in the past two weeks:

It doesn’t matter where you keep your to-do list as long as you check it throughout the day! I’m a post-it/back of a bill/index card-writing kind of girl. Before, I would put my to-do lists on any piece of paper near me. I would also use that same piece of paper for a bookmark and wonder why I couldn’t find it later. So I decided to write my to-do lists in my journal, thinking that if I kept it in the same place, I would be able to find it. I was able to find my list but I never checked it! Talk about frustrating. For days I forgot to check my list, if I even remembered to write my list down! I didn’t use my journal very often to start with, so it wasn’t the best place for my list.

Now I use my phone to keep up with my to-do list and add an alarm so I get beeped during the day to check on my progress. That helps a lot. While we’re talking about alarms…

A kitchen timer is one of the best things you can use to help you achieve your goals. Whether I’m putting on the timer for 15 minutes as I straighten up a room or for an hour as I work on homework or my blog, hearing the ticking of the timer keeps me focused. That’s something my phone’s alarm can’t do.

Cull. Rearrange. Repeat. In the past three weeks, I have given away books, bed sheets, clothes, and anything else I thought I can live without. My space still felt small, so I started rearranging things. What a relief. My living room and bedroom function a lot better and I don’t have to look at piles of things. What couldn’t fit is gone.

De-cluttering and time management will always be an ongoing process. I didn’t realize that at first. I figured that once you understand how to manage your day or keep your living space livable, you don’t have to worry about it again. Wrong. It’s a daily process.

Be patient with yourself. Over the past few weeks, I had to deal with stubborn and smelly carpet stains, migraines, car troubles, and other unexpected things. It doesn’t matter how packed your day is, things come up. And they usually happen when you least expect them to. I’ve gotten pretty frustrated before I realized that I need to take a deep breath and realize that’s life. It doesn’t matter how early I wake up or how late I stay awake, I’m not about to run myself ragged to do the unexpected along with everything else. Asking for help or waiting until another day to do some things helps keep me sane.
I plan on spending the next week focusing on my de-cluttering and time management routine. While I’m doing that, I’m also figuring out what November’s goals will be. With NaNoWriMo and so many other writing projects going on during that time, writing may be the thing I focus on.

So tell me, what have you been up to? Have you figured out what you are going to accomplish in November?