Friday, May 31, 2013

May Summary

As we close out the month of May I look back and I'm thankful for everything that's come my way.

First of all I'm thankful for all of you new readers that have come my way thanks to Brooke's recommendation to join a Portland Bloggers group full of lovely like-minded ladies.

Second, I'm thankful for such a successful month at work. I remember how it started and can see how far my team and I have come in the last 30 days.

We had beautiful weather to start the month and I got to goof around with these girls on the beach:

I've exceeded my monthly running goal of 100 miles by just a few over, and I don't plan to run on vacation (even though I brought clothes in case that mind of mine changes). I do plan do dance up a storm at the wedding and run circles around Dan (if that counts!)

This will make me really ready to hit the pavement com June 3rd when I'm back home. It rained on a few runs, but I don't mind!

This month I really enjoyed the start of something intellectual with TED Tuesdays: Happiness Advantage, 30 is not the new 20 and the Power of Grit.

Getting hit by a bus was a bad day for me and my car, but the joys of my Half Birthday and a blog make-over outweigh any mirror damage!

Finally, it was so refreshing to finally speak about the Truth behind Cohabitation, and I really appreciated everyone's warm, heartfelt and encouraging comments. I'm not proud of what once was, but I'm thankful it happened and that I learned how important my Daniel was because of it.

Before midnight tonight I'll step off an airplane and into the arms of my boyfriend who I've missed all week. I can't think of a more perfect way to end May!

Happy June!

heart JE

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Meeting the Parents

I can't believe that it happened so quickly, but it's May 30th and in two days I get to finally meet Dan's family.

Dan's already been in Chicago for a week and has been doing everything from meals with family members to golfing daily with friends (big surprise!). Originally the master scheme was to leave Portland together over Memorial Day weekend and get the grand tour, but the timing wasn't in my favor with the end of our fiscal year this week. The trip to Chicago is postponed and rather I head to Bowling Green, Kentucky tomorrow - the location of Dan's little sister's wedding.

Yikes - meeting the family at a wedding! I know, I'm a little nervous too! 

I joke, I'm probably not as nervous as the normal girlfriend should be for the occasion. I've had the pleasure of loyal readership and email correspondence with Dan's mom, while I've overheard the jovial voice of Dan's dad when they're on the phone together bantering about everything sports, cars, motorcycles and action movies. 

It's a little crazy for me to think of all the time Dan's spent with my family and how often I've had to sit back and read mom and dad's facial expressions depending on what was coming out of Dan's mouth. Remember the flower incident, Dan? Now it will be fun to witness him with that feeling. He will have to make sure that I'm keeping in line, not doing my infamous nervous jabber and most importantly that I don't drink too much and take over the microphone at the reception in front of the guests. Kidding, but seriously.

An extremely rewarding part about the trip will be leaving work in the middle of the day tomorrow to catch my flight - the perfect way to wrap up the past three months of the most demanding and exhilarating work of my life.

Today's Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a girl who knew the importance of packing light, dressing for the destination and posing with confidence:

See you soon, baby!

heart JE

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weekend Prep Returns

Even though I've been quiet about my weekend food prep it's still been going on.

For you new faces around here, I recommend that you check out the archives:

Take the Time: Meal Prep and Weekend Food Prep will give you an idea of what usually goes on in my home on the weekends.

Lately however, food prep begins with a sweet and gentle, "Dan, can you please please please grill some chicken and salmon burgers? I bought lettuce yesterday."

From there, he jumps out of his seat if there's no sports on TV and heats up our extra convenient grill. He's finished in under 45 minutes, has protein ready for the week and all I have to do is chop the lettuce, squirt the sriracha and make sure the avocados are ripe enough for bliss at work the next day.

Okay, so I know that arrangement sounds unfair and I'm working on it, but this weekend since he wasn't home I had to take meal prep back to my top standards and make a mini-production out of it. It was especially fun this weekend because I didn't even have to go grocery shopping!

1. Egg 'pancakes':

Nothing involving pancakes goes into cooking up these eggs, just the shape the finished product ends up being after a quick 90 seconds in the pan. At work I can pop these into the microwave, add spices or 1/2 of an avocado and voila - protein made easy.

2. Tempeh, Lentils, Avocado, Sriracha Salad

Here's where I get to use the other half of the morning avocado and also get to watch all my co-workers turn their heads to see what the amazing smell is that's coming from my area.

Tempeh is a protein powerhouse so it's no wonder that I love to include it in my meals wherever I can. What you see below is 4 servings worth of the good stuff, and I can pre-portion it into my convenient tupperware for the whole week - each day's ration alongside 1/2 cup of wonderful Trader Joe's Lentils.

I pop the lentil / tempeh / sriracha mix into the microwave for 35 seconds and have a clean and filling meal ready to be instagrammed and devoured.

3. Sweet Potato + Quinoa Stir Fry

This one's for dinner every night this week.

Sweet potato, Quinoa, Jalapeno peppers, black beans, grilled chicken and a dash of love make this the perfect 'comfort meal' after the long days of work I've been experiencing. 

The recipe is here and you'll find the peeled thin potato slices to be the perfect texture and just the right size for cooking without extra time or effort.

Have you ever done your food prep on the weekends? What are your favorite easy fixes for a whole week of quality meals?

heart JE

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TED Tuesday: The Power of Grit

Welcome back to the work week! I hope everyone's weekend was relaxing and re-energizing.

The topic of today's TED Talk is Grit. What is it?

Grit is "passion and perseverance". Grit is continually setting goals for yourself, being self motivated, having stamina through long term goals and sticking to your future.

Talent doesn't make you gritty, wealth doesn't make you gritty, education doesn't make you gritty.

What does?

Hard work, courage, confidence and trust in yourself.

I'm fortunate to have parents who instilled the idea of grit into my mind at a young age. They were entrepreneurs who worked harder than anyone I know to make a future for our family. That mindset has guided me through life and has yet to fail me.

In school I wasn't always the most intelligent of my class but worked hard to get exceptional grades. In my final four years of softball I was challenged mentally more than I've ever been in my life and came out of it with a hard shell and a resilience that can't be taught. In my current job I wasn't ready for the pressure that would come my way, but through focus, stamina and my can't-fail attitude I'm happier than ever.

The man I have fallen in love with has grit. When he was diagnosed with Cancer in 2008 after he'd moved to Portland he found the strength within himself to not give up, to see himself through his treatments and to continue his life as if nothing had happened. I'm proud of him and it proves his ability to face any future adversity that may come our way.

Enough about me, observe the confidence of Angela Lee Duckworth in today's TED talk. She's captivating, motivating and hopefully she can encourage you to find the grit somewhere deep within yourself. 

TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading

heart JE

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bachelorette Weekend

Dan left for Chicago on Saturday and since I dropped him at the airport it's been a beautiful bachelorette weekend.

I do miss him dearly and the three terrifying motion alarms in the middle of the night didn't give me much opportunity to rest, but the waking hours are exactly the way I'd draw up the perfect three day weekend.

Hours at my beloved neighborhood coffee shop, Lumineer's Pandora station filling the house, no shame walking out of the house in my glasses, chambray + leggings + lace up boots...basically I turned into a hipster overnight.

Other musings included:

  • My monthly 90 minute massage to get all the running and weight lifting kinks out

  • Sleeping in until 11:30 - which is unheard of.

  • More running to get to my 100 miles for the month (only 4 remaining!)

  • Delicious recovery meal of Dave's Killer Bread, 2 Eggs, 1/2 Avocado, Sriracha and Pepper {below}

  • A refreshing strawberrita or two while catching up on weekend reading

  • Finally watched Silver Linings Playbook - since Dan didn't exactly want to see it

It also looks like I have developed a signature pose with my coffee, head tilt and eye position. Help us all.

I'm going to take advantage of the 90% rain forecast here in Portland and continue to pamper myself with a facial, a bubble bath and maybe even a manicure if I'm feeling wild.

I finally see the finish line at work for the end of the fiscal year and I can't be stopped now!

Carpe Diem, friends!

heart JE

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Truth about Cohabitation

I alluded to sad times last year during this week and I guess I can't really back away from writing this post now.

You've all given me positive feedback about the Boyfriend + Cohabitation posts for the last 20 weeks (TWENTY?) and I'm here to tell the story about our relationship before he moved in with me. A story about when I moved in with him.

Dan and I met in the summer of 2010 through an intramural softball league and didn't exactly hit it off at first sight. He was the 3rd baseman and I was the first basewoman. Any of you who know a thing about intramural softball would know that the 3rd and 1st positions interact a lot. I say we didn't hit it off so well because he'd always short hop me (bruises!) or air mail me (white girl can't jump!) and I just thought he wasn't good at ball. There wasn't much there to kick off a conversation!

Our first memorable interaction was after our team had won first place and went out to celebrate afterward with beer and tots. He conveniently pulled up a chair next to me, cracked every joke he could to have me in stitches and even snuck his way into getting my phone number when I was sharing it with some of the ladies on my team.

From that day on, he and I hit it off easier than I'd ever gelled with a guy before. Conversation flowed seamlessly, we'd meet late for dinner and drinks and wind up closing down wherever we went, no matter how late their hours were. 10pm, 1am, on weeknights! We didn't want to leave one another's company until we were given the glare and the 'you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here' look from the bar/restaurant/pool hall's staff.

These late nights weren't exactly easy on me gramma likes her sleep and one day in early 2011 before an evening meet-up I stopped at Target on the way to dinner and bought a new outfit. The outfit wasn't for the date, it was for work the next morning. I was going to stay the night. I surprised myself with this bold move, mostly because I wasn't the girl that did that type of thing on the regular, but also because my intent wasn't a relationship with Dan.

So, Jessi - what exactly were you trying to accomplish by staying the night with a 'friend' with no intention to date him?

I still can't answer that question. There was something about Dan that brought me comfort, confidence, peace of mind and happiness. That one night staying over turned into two nights a week, turned into me bringing over clothes and buying an extra hair dryer. Then two nights a week turned into more - rearranging his closet to fit more of my things, going to ikea together to install a place where I could get ready in the mornings. Four nights a week then morphed into grocery shopping for the two of us, buying furniture together and making decisions about travel together - and yet I still wasn't his girlfriend. Oh, so that's where 'cohabitation' comes from!

It went so deep as to not having access to my full wardrobe for a year.

Spring of 2011 quickly turned into Summer of 2012, memories, dates, road trips together - and I still wasn't claiming him as my boyfriend. I still hadn't told my parents, friends, co-workers or loved ones that I was involved in a relationship, that I hadn't stepped foot into my own home for months or that I was even dating someone. Someone as special as my Daniel.

If I was Dan I would have quit me a long time before that. I was a jerk.

Late Spring of 2012 Dan's sister called him and excitedly announced that she was engaged! He was so happy for her and at the same time guilt hit me like a brick wall. Was I leading him on? Was he going to start thinking about marriage soon? Is he my forever or was he just the closest chair?

After a hard weekend conversation with my mom just a few days after she met Dan for the first time at my 24 1/2 birthday dinner, I decided that I had to end whatever it was that I was doing. During my conversation with my mom which she will still never forgive me for I didn't confess that I'd been living with him for a year. She sensed from meeting him that we were great friends but that if I wasn't going to date him then I needed to give him space and let him find 'the one'.

Monday May 21st after work I let myself into his home, rolled up my sleeves and removed every last piece of evidence that I'd ever lived there. Through waterfalls of tears I raced up and down the stairs with handfuls of clothing on hangers, duffel bags full of shoes, grocery bags that carried make-up and craft supplies, the kitchen appliances...everything that I'd brought into his home and that we'd made ours. I was in such a hurry because I didn't want his roommate to catch me and even worse for him to catch me.

I was on the road within an hour - my little car was bursting at the seams with bags and shoes, ugly cry/sweaty hair, heartbreak to the max.

I hadn't even given him a hint that I wouldn't be home that night.

At 6:45 I received a text message from him "What can I make us for dinner?" More tears.

I cried myself to sleep that night, I sobbed to my mom on the phone several times, I cried and cried to Dan when we met the next afternoon for lunch to talk through why I'd left. That I was really just scared, that I wasn't his one and he wasn't mine. Sitting there in the restaurant, there was no emotion on his face, no concern for my heartbreak, nothing but an acceptance that what we shared was over and that he wasn't going to spend another minute chasing after my affection. I thought this was where the secret story of our time together would end.

But it didn't.

For days and nights, sitting at my desk or over a simple conversation I'd break into tears over what I felt I'd lost. No, what I'd thrown away.

After suggesting dinners, drinks, lunch, walks in the park, everything to see him - I finally dragged him away from a workout and treated him to seeing The Avengers on a weeknight.

The drive to the theater was silent, during the movie I extended my fingers to hold his hand and instead he handed over the package of twizzlers we'd snuck into the theater. We didn't speak much, and I felt like my window of opportunity was shrinking.

Just one mile before I was to his home and going to have what seemed to be my last face to face conversation with him, I calmly spoke.

"Dan, do you trust me?"  (silly question)

"Uhhh.... " (with that look he gives me)

"Well, I'm a little crazy, but what if we start. over?"

(blank stare).(frustration). "How?"

"Start over! You forget me, I forget you - we forget everything we've ever done together and we just start. over. Right now, see -" I pull out my phone. "This is you in my phone. I've never deleted a single text message from you. Do you trust me?"

"There's no way to start over, Jessi. There isn't."

"Dan! Watch me." Swipes finger across the screen, taps the red bar. "You and everything you've ever been is now deleted in my phone. Now you do it too!"

An uneasy Dan pulls out his phone and with less drama does the same, and away went all of the messages we'd ever shared.

I dropped him off to his home, looked him deep into his eyes and said, "you know where to find me".

And he found me.....

Happily and instantly, we started over.

heart JE

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Throwback Thursday: May Rain

So I know we were parading and dancing around a few weeks ago from all of the beautiful weather.

Our trip to the coast felt like we were in Mexico, I was shopping and worrying about what to wear professionally that wouldn't be too hot for summer (buh-bye, tights!) and looking forward to shorts and flip flops out on the patio in the evening relaxing and entertaining around the grill.

Fast forward a few short weeks and instead we're experiencing some'a this and some more'a this:

Something strange about me that you may have seen on here before is that I love the rain.

The soothing rhythm of the raindrops on rooftops, my opportunity to wear my Hunter Boots, the amazing excuse to drink 2-3 cups of coffee just to warm up. Lovely moments to look forward to.

My only true rain-related rants are that somehow other drivers don't know how to drive in the rain, my hair doesn't do well with moisture (both humidity and rain) and that Dan doesn't seem to love the rain as much as I do... which makes me happy because when it's raining he won't spend all day playing golf.

This week it's also making me happy that it's raining for reasons I'll do my best to explain tomorrow. Last year this week in particular was a difficult one for me emotionally, so it makes me happy that Dan and I have been curling up together under blankets, enjoying our evenings together and talking about how happy we are to be together.

Today's Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a little girl who knew it was fun to romp around in the rain, cuddle up close with a loved one and give her cutest little mischievous glance; no poncho necessary.

heart JE

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Bus Incident

Okay, so I was hoping to write something worthwhile tonight but I just can't do it. Why you ask?

I was hit by a bus!

Okay that may be a bit dramatic, but my car is feeling it this evening.

Yep, my sad little side mirror. This isn't even the first time a side mirror on my vehicle has been mangled but that was pre-blog and pre-instagram!

I was leaving the freeway to cut through downtown and my car was stopped, waiting like all the other commuters at the light. I saw a bus emerge right next to my window and my stomach dropped, then the tire lightly rubbed past my driver side mirror and my hands grasped the wheel a little tighter.

Then the destruction.

At no more than 2 MPH, the bus's back right wheel well caught the mirror and tore it slowly and painfully (I always rip the band-aid fast) as I sat and watched the mirror sadly dangling.

I sat with my jaw dropped, hands up, reaching for my cell phone and trying to make out the license plate.

The driver next to me was equally appalled and he was kind enough to roll down his window and shout, "I'm a witness! Hey, I'm a witness! Bus #1714!"

I was stunned by his kindness and that he was looking out for me and just missed my chance to follow after him and get his information. I turned down a few more streets, around and around, but couldn't locate the kind stranger.

I took photos of the damage and sent to both mom and Dan, asking "who can I call to get this fixed?".

Mom was on the hunt and Dan was proud of me for getting all of the details pinned, even down to what the advertisement on the back of the bus was.

The decided action plan was to call the non-emergency police who handled the call like it happens all the time and sent a kind and investigative officer (who looked a little like Michael Rooker, or Merle from Walking Dead).

Officer Merle took the details, whacked some zombies and phoned a Tri-Met supervisor who also came out to file the report, take photos (duh, sir - check my insta's) and gave me the claims number that I'd be able to contact to get the damage taken care of.

Sad moment, happy ending - and I'm proud of myself for getting all of the details so that I could make the claim and get my baby repaired.

Although I may not be merging into the left lane any time soon! #Dangles

heart JE

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TED Tuesday: 30 is Not the New 20

Twenties - the "developmental sweet spot".

Turning 25.5 last week + Brooke's link to a great TED Talk = Hello Jessi, you're growing up.

In today's TED Talk share, clinical psychologist Meg Jay draws from the memories and cases of her patients who were shuffling through their twenties without aim, because they didn't feel like they had to. It's become a social norm to extend our youth through our twenties, travel while we're young, accept not having a 'real job' yet and dating to just 'experiment' while waiting to find the one.

There are a cited 50 million other 20-somethings living in the United States (hey bloggers!) who are going along this ride at the same time as me, at the same time as you or learning all of the same things you yourself learned when you were in your twenties if you're already out of them. My twenties so far for me have been where I've established myself as a contributing member of society, where my career has blossomed, where my personality has changed, where my priorities are set toward building my future, where I'd rather have a handful of quality friendships than pages of Facebook friends.

I love who I've become in the first half, and can't wait to fulfill the vision of myself I've always had.

Growing up when I daydreamed about the woman I would become, the perfect version of myself was a tall, confident beauty in her late twenties. She had her life figured out, she was happily in love and was paving a career path that would set her up for her professional prowess. She spoke with confidence, walked with grace and aimed to never hurt another's feelings. And I still like the sound of that.

Watch this video and make your own pledge to claim your 20's, or 30's, 40's, 50's - just claim you!

[ted id=1741]

TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading

heart JE

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Blog Makeover

Do you notice some changes around here?

I finally had some down time this weekend while Dan was volunteering with Caddies 4 Cure as a driver for the celebrity guests Rough life, Dan. I could have spent my time working, cleaning, shopping, playing, running (17 miles wasn't enough, Jessi?) but instead I devoted a good amount of time cleaning up my blog image.

What exactly does that mean?

I love the clean and simple themes I see daily from Brooke, Meghan, Justine, Jenni so I shopped around and even considered spending some money - but concluded that I'd find one that worked for me. Nailed it.

The font, the clean background, the date stamp, the banner - all of it. Okay, maybe not the pink accents - but it was Free. When it was all said and done, I was thrilled with the aesthetic, but felt a little like I'd put lipstick on a pig. Like I got my hair cut and colored but hadn't paid my eyebrows any attention for weeks yeesh.

  • My pages (top bar in black) hadn't been updated since February.

  • I had no organization or reason behind my Categories

  • The Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and social media links were amateur at best.

  • The formatting was all. over. the. place.

I kicked my slippered feet up, grabbed a hot cup of coffee and got to work.

My Action Plan:

I re-named and created new categories so that posts could be labeled for easy searching.

I revisited every. single. post. that I've ever written on this blog and did two main things:

  1. Justified the Text (important, fellow Bloggers!)

  2. Re-Assigned the Categories that made sense (What the heck was 'Day to Day' supposed to help anyone find?)

Looking back to every post made me realize some of the amazing things I've shared on here over the last year and how I can be a better blogger going forward. Thanks for never criticizing, being an amazing community and having patience as I develop my space here on the internet.

Ahhh - Clarity.

The unfortunate part of working on my blog all weekend was that it was an afterthought to write a post for Monday.

Oh you mean I just wrote it? Solid.

heart JE

Friday, May 17, 2013

Wrap n' Roll

Wrapping up the week and rolling straight into the weekend, that's the name of the game! This week has flown by and I've also felt incredibly productive both at work and at home. I was able to run 4 weekdays (including this morning...which was a really early alarm for everyone), got a great amount of work done and was even able to sneak in a pedicure, a movie and some time with my Mr. Dan.

First of all, the half birthday celebrations yesterday were more than expected as always and I feel pampered, loved and fulfilled.

The day started out with Dan chauffeuring me into work in the rental mini-van, then returning to deliver me a extra big latte with extra big results, followed by a facebook frenzy of well wishes by friends, family and the sweet little sisters below - who are experts at photo editing #amIright?

The next wonderful thing that happened to me was this 'omg!' inducing lunch complete with meal-prepped grilled chicken, lettuce, 1/2 avocado and S.R.I.R.A.C.H.A. Dan was in charge of the sriracha 'drenching' on this one and sad to say it just didn't kick enough. Therefore, tomorrow's container leaves the chicken unrecognizable to the naked eye. #morespiceplz

At the end of the day after I had to put out a few tiny little fires at the workplace, Dan swooped me up and took US to get pedicures together in Beaverton. He loves taking me to get pedicures and he's the happiest guy I've ever seen sitting back in the massage chair, people touching his weary hairy feet and even a little nail polish. He may not be as appreciative of me getting photo evidence for the blog, but I think he and his clear-painted nails will get over it!

To wrap up the evening, this handsome guy whisked me away in our weekend rented mini van and we headed to Cinetopia for dinner and Great Gatsby. I was thrilled beyond belief as I saw a dear childhood friend of mine enter the theater just after me, and it was a great to giggle, chat and make 'let's see each other soon' plans with one another. In the meantime I'll work on finding old photos of our younger years for a Throwback Thursday, Gretchen!

When we returned home late, I was surprised to find that my parents had dropped off a chocolate cake, fresh raspberries, a gift card to our favorite java spot and a beautiful flower in a vase picked straight from the garden - all for the special day!

I have the greatest family, friends and boyfriend I could ever ask for. It's easy for my mind to be happy when there's so much positive energy flowing through my beautiful life.

This weekend I have a lot of solid blog (this one) and educational reading/viewing to dive into (like this!) - many peaceful running miles while Dan's off being important, and a whole amazing world around me to take in, one breath at a time!

heart JE

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Half Birthday

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year - my HALF Birthday.

I've celebrated half birthdays since I can remember and love keeping the tradition alive.

My brother claims to have started the tradition, but reality (read: how I remember it) is that a sunny spring day I learned it was my half birthday and had the scheme of a lifetime. I stood on a step-stool, reached for the wired wall-phone and dialed the phone numbers of my grandparents that were listed in my mother's handwriting on the inside of a cupboard door. Each time I dialed a number, I would speak in my sweetest most innocent voice and invite my relatives over for a Half Birthday celebration. Yes, presents would be accepted and yes - there will be cake (mom just didn't know it yet!)

One by one, the family started pulling up to the house via the back alley, hands full of gifts, balloons and surprises! The only ones who didn't know about the party? Mom and Dad!

Being the loving parents that they are, and being the sweet little innocent child I liked to pretend that I was - they went to the store, bought the cake that I'd promised all of my guests, and we had a party that would last for years and years.

Nowadays my half birthday is celebrated a little differently - but I almost like it more than my actual birthday!

Normally the weather is decent in the spring, my parents take me out to dinner, I get half-ish gifts and I have zero guilt in sharing that it's my half-special day with others. What's even better? Mom's half birthday is just two days later and we know we like to do each of our days justice - this half birthday thing isn't just for me!

This year Dan and I are doing a pamper day with pedicures and evening plans he hasn't shared with me yet, but there's a rumor that I have a gift from mom and dad waiting for me at home. Hopefully I can also expect something special at work since I shamelessly marked the date on our calendar. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Today's Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a little girl who knew that even the littlest milestones are important to celebrate - especially one's centered around her beautiful cake-loving existence!

heart JE

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Happiness Advantage

Let's slow it down, shall we?

I have a desire to get more intellectual, so that means you're going to be taken on the ride with me whether you'd like to or not. Lately I've only been feeding my brain with business details, spreadsheets and the occasional leisure-read of my favorite blogs - but there's a need for new thoughts to expand my brain and get my creative centers firing.

Today I'm sharing a TED Talk (love 'em) that was published 15 months ago but was recently brought to my attention. Shawn Achor, researcher and teacher of positive psychology, walks us through the first time positive psychology crept into his youthful mind and in the twelve minutes of footage had me convinced that my brain is capable of showing me any world I want to see.

In his humorous presentation, he inspires me to challenge myself to reverse the formula I've always used for happiness and success.

For many of us, our picture of success is measured as the following:

If you work harder, you'll be more successful | If you're more successful, you'll be happy

I don't know if it's the same for you, but when I work harder and am successful - I just keep placing the bar higher and higher. While I may experience short-term elation and pride, I'm never fully being satisfied with my accomplishments nor experiencing the "happiness" I'd expected in all the hard work placed into my goals.

Shawn challenges us to re-write the formula for ourselves by training our brain (as we train our bodies) to seek out the happiness and optimism in the world. He cites that your external world does not predict your happiness - but rather the way your brain processes the world around you can create happiness and boost productivity, creativity, understanding, clarity and attitude.

Afterall, perception is reality.

If you do anything today, please click 'play' below and engage in an inspirational conversation with your subconscious:

[ted id=1344]

The Happiness Advantage is also a book you can find on Amazon - I'll be downloading it for my Kindle on iPad soon!

heart JE

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Weekend

In case you missed it, last week's Throwback Thursday was all about my wonderful mother.

Today, we're going to talk about Mother's Day weekend and the wonderful time that Dan and I spent with the family.

First of all, I think something that captures my mom's loving personality is an update she posted to Facebook on mother's day:

She truly feels that her greatest accomplishment has been motherhood - which makes me all the more excited about how she will embrace being a grandmother.

NOT a hint - sorry friends, you're welcome Dan

Back to Mom's special day!

Sunday morning I set out for a nine mile run while Dan called his mom and thanked her for everything she's done as a mother. I got back home and he was mid-call with his dad, and I couldn't even recognize his voice. He was so far into sports-mode that I thought there was a Sportscenter announcer sitting in our media room. Boy's got another calling.

After cleaning up a little, we drove 20 minutes away with latte's for all of us in hand. We arrived to crazy puppy town and got the girls all hyped up before taking them on a boardwalk park walk while learning that Tiger Woods won yet again - Go Tiger!

These girls walked so well through the park and had nothing but smiles on their sweet little mugs. It's evident how much mom and dad both love these little girls - they are the luckiest puppies around!

We made it back from the walk and a gourmet meal was cooked up in no time! Our favorite mix of grilled chicken and sweet potato fries can make any meal whole - but even better and not pictured were the accompanying lettuce, salsa, greek yogurt and sisters snoozing at our feet.

The evening turned risky when we pulled out the crude card game (that I absolutely love): Cards Against Humanity

This past week the game with two expansion sets arrived on mom and dad's doorstep from brother Matt - and Dan and I were the lucky ones to test the waters with the parents.

I knew they'd warm up to the game after a while, but didn't realize that my dad would be responsible for some of the most hilarious, raunchy and blush-worthy combinations of cards I'd ever witnessed. After I saw some of the hands mom and dad were playing, Dan and I loosened up and actually played the same way we would have if we were surrounded by a group of peers. It was bliss.

Laughing until we cried, snorting, avoiding eye-contact; all indicators of a great time with the parents. Can't wait until Matt comes home and gets to join in on the fun!

What a wonderful day with mom, dad, the sisters and the comfort of home.

heart JE

Monday, May 13, 2013


Did everyone have an amazing weekend like we had?

Friday night when I got home after typical afternoon traffic, I caught Dan in the kitchen popping the tab on the new Bud Light Margaritas and salting the rims on our fancy swoosh glassware. I threw my arms around him and thanked him for being the greatest boyfriend of all time.

Little did I know; he was boozin' me up so that I would sit happily and quietly yeah right while watching the Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat Game 3.

Little did he know; I was exhausted from the week and was sawing logs in the recliner by 6:45 pm.

...It's tough being such a party animal.

Saturday morning after a quick run in the neighborhood, Dan headed to work at his second job at a golf course while I got ready for breakfast in the gorge with mom and grandma. We wanted to avoid the 'mother's day brunch' so we made reservations at the Multnomah Falls Lodge where we had a great view of the waterfall and enjoyed some delicious plates.

*disclaimer: I didn't take photos of the falls because I want to take Dan in June!

^Veggie omelette with ooey gooey cheese^

It was a great opportunity to catch grandma up on what Dan and I have been up to the past few months along with the exciting things I've been a part of at work. I also got to meet her new kitten - Dan is begging me to take him out to visit as well!

For the sake of brevity, we'll talk about mother's day tomorrow, but in the meantime I'll leave you with the beautiful flowers that stopped me in my tracks on my 9 mile Sunday run. It's important to stop and smell (read: photograph) the flowers.

Have a great week!

heart JE

Friday, May 10, 2013

Week 18: Cohabitation

I'm so happy that Dan and I headed to the coast last weekend because we really haven't seen much of each other this week. We've both been so busy that when we do see each other it's dinner time, it's get-ready time or it's 'dont-bother-me-i'm-blogging-time'. Rough life

Before we get started with the week - check out the Bad Lip Reading for The AMC's The Walking Dead


...Dan says that's me at 2:45

Back at it -

House chores have fallen by the wayside and just yesterday we sorted week old mail into three important piles. The yours, mine, and 'how do we stop getting this...' piles are still sitting on the dining room table, but at least they've been sorted. Third time was a charm on loading / running the dishwasher as well. Soap was in, racks were loaded, but somehow there was no urgency in actually running the thing. Lastly, you know it's bad when you decide to just buy more athletic wear to stretch out the frequency of laundry loads rather than just find the time. Love the new sports bras though!

Enough about what we're doing wrong! How about what we've done right this week! Food related, obvi

1. Avocado + Sriracha Toast at the Coast

2. Costco trip turned into a belated Happy Birthday cake

3. Cinco de Mayo guacamole prep - yum! 

4. Post dinner-date with Brad and Brooke led us to ice cream

Dan wanted to make sure that I shared some of the cuteness from this weekend. Bella is an excellent snuggle-bug and my handsome Daniel was happy to take a nap on a hot day. Daniel is a favorite among the two golden sisters, they find it hard to leave his side when he's around.

Can you even believe that he and I have lived together for 18 weeks? I can't - it feels like much longer than that and I am so thrilled to call this house a home.

Enjoy your weekend and hug/call/cherish your mother!

heart JE