Lifestyle,  Self Care

Defining Happiness

In a high-paced society centered around sensationalized news, it’s easy to get dragged down in the dumps. Instead of noticing all the surrounding good it can feel like we’re suffocating in a sea of problems.  If you read my January favorites, you may remember my daily happiness journal, in which I write down my favorite memory of every day.  I decided to make a mini happiness journal and give you a glimpse of all the moments that made me who I am today. Full disclosure: this is about to get cheesier than a Christmas hallmark movie with an extra helping of Gouda so strap in tight.

Early Mornings, Warm Drinks, and Good Company

It’s no secret that I’m a morning person. One of my favorite ways to spend the morning, when I’m not following my morning routine, is with the people I love. When I was younger and still lived with my parents, I would wake up every Sunday morning to my black lab’s, Sadie, tail wagging as my dad flipped through the TV often settling on HGTV’s latest or Sea Rescue (fun fact: I use to want to work in animal rescue). Usually, my mom and I would make it a tradition to grab brunch before running our errands. These brunch dates and early family mornings are still my favorite part of coming home. After all, what’s better than spending your favorite time of the day with your favorite people? See, I told you there was going to be a lot of cheese in here, especially for a vegan.

In a Natural State of Mind

One of the easiest ways to lift my mood is just by spending some time outdoors. In fact, most of my happiest memories take place outside. Every July morning, I would wake up early run down to the lake, kneeboard in hand and beg my dad to take me for a ride. Behind the boat I held on with one hand, letting my other glide through the water as I hummed along to whatever song happened to weasel its way into my mind. While I’m a huge water person, after all, I am a Floridian, I’m even a bigger mountain person. My favorite place I’ve traveled is Ireland, and it all leads back to my day in Bray. My mom and I hiked the mountain from Bray to Greystone and not once did I take my eyes off the mountain line.

Chill Vibes and Airplane Rides

If you read my Colorado post you might remember my weird fascination with airports. There’s something so mystical about being caught between the places where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’m calmest waiting in a terminal, indie music playing as my fingers glide over my keyboard, or better yet when I’m completely lost in a book. Give me a chai latte to sip on while I’m reading and I’ve transcended to another level of happiness.

Getting Lost in the Unexplored

My fatal flaw: I get bored easily which often leads me on a wild goose chase for adventure. If you read my 3 Proven Ways to be a Tourist in Your Hometown post, you might remember how my best friend and I love to go on random adventures. We always have a goal to get lost and stumble upon a cool place. I use this same “no-map” mentality when traveling. You might point out the irony given my obsession with maps. Yes, it’s probably strange that I use maps purely for decoration. Nope, my stubborn self does not plan on actually using them. My favorite day in my whole time study abroad was when I went to the Palio di Siena, and I think this stems from the spontaneity of it. There’s something so rewarding about seeing where life takes you, even if that means running to catch a train in a foreign city.

Courtesy of that awkward moment when we took the wrong train but ended up having a photo shoot anyways

 

Embracing my Iron Chef in the Kitchen

If you’ve been with my blog from the beginning, you may remember the disaster that was my cooking. I’m talking the ability to burn frozen vegan patties. Yeah, impressive, I know. But since then, I’ve been experimenting a lot more with cooking. Sure, my recipe repertoire doesn’t extend much past some sort of starch with an extra helping of roasted veggies, but I’m getting somewhere. I even helped prepare this year’s Christmas Eve feast!

For Christmas Eve every year, my dad would cook a big prime rib dinner with lobster. Only a lot had changed since Christmas Eve 2017. I was now vegan, and there were two fewer family members joining us. What started in a night of tears ended in some of my new favorite memories. It was the first time we all cooked as a family. Dad and I tested a recipe for some vegan stuffed peppers and lots of veggies. Nick grilled the steaks, and even mom popped some garlic bread in the oven. There were moments when my eyes lingered to the empty spaces, but we had each other, and we were making new memories. The Danes really are onto something when they say cooking together is a big part of finding hygge. What you thought I’d make it a whole blog post without mentioning hygge?

 

These aren’t all my happy memories and not all my memories are happy. But in sifting through the salt-soaked memories, I find all the moments that went into making me. If you’ve seen Inside Out you probably know that some of our most defining memories are sad ones. That being said, I wanted to keep this post more upbeat. I wanted to share some of my happiest memories and hopefully inspire you to reflect on your own. If you do find yourself reflecting leave a comment with your favorite memory!

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