Tag Archives: what makes life worth living

the attainment of happiness

21 Nov

I’ve spent the last few months thinking a lot about happiness. How to get it, mostly. The answer, I’ve found, lies in the same place most answers lie – in finding a balance. In this case, a balance between change and contentment. Between identifying what it is that is making you unhappy and altering those factors, and learning how to be happy in whatever circumstances you currently find yourself.

One of my favorite things in life is when things keep popping up in different ways and different places that all lead back to the same idea or concept, things that are so closely related that it makes it so obvious what lesson life is teaching you right now. It reminds me of when somehow I realize that I’m studying the same exact thing, albeit in different ways, in three of my different and completely unrelated classes. I’m going through one of these times right now – not in school, but in life. I think it started around the beginning of this semester when this period of general malaise and discontent started. I started trying to figure what it was that was making me unhappy when, on the surface, it seemed I had no reason to be – and I started trying to figure out how I could get happy again.

When I mentioned something along these lines to my – I don’t even know what to call her, my therapist? That just sounds so weird – anyway, her name is Charis, and when I mentioned to her how inexplicably unhappy I had been feeling lately, she directed me to a mindfulness lab that a couple of Rosemead students had started to teach on Wednesday nights. I only went once, but it’s really not a difficult concept, and once you’ve grasped it you can pretty much just practice it on your own with no outside guidance, unless you want to challenge yourself more and more with it. Basically, mindfulness, or mindful meditation, is something that I think was originally taken from Buddhist meditative practices, but it really doesn’t have to have anything to do with the Buddhist religion. All it is, is simply stopping, or pausing, and becoming aware of your surroundings – and then accepting them. It’s about noticing what’s going on in your mind and your body, and letting it happen instead of fighting it. It is bringing your complete attention to the present – not the past, not the future, but now, this moment. It’s a meditative practice, but it’s something that should ideally be brought to every moment of your life for true effectiveness.

This is what mindfulness means to me. I am a high-anxiety person. I always have some sort of thought simmering underneath the surface about planning for the future, worry about something I’m anticipating, or something of that sort. When I remember to be mindful, when I pull all of my attention to focus to this moment, I become okay with this moment, no matter what is happening. It’s strange and hard to describe, but it brings such a high level of calm to my brain to stop thinking about what’s going to happen. It’s a way of taking a deep breath with my soul and recalibrating myself within my surroundings, instead of attempting to control my surroundings – which is really impossible. I never want to totally lose my thirst for the change element of life, for my ambition, for personalizing my circumstances as much as possible – but what it’s so important to remember is that sometimes I can’t change things. I can only change the way I encounter and deal with them, the way I process them through my psyche and my actions.

Cut to last weekend, when I’m doing a last-minute reading of Samuel Johnson’s philosophical fable The History of Rasselas for my British lit class. Imagine my surprise when this strange story I’ve never heard of out of my Norton anthology starts sounding really familiar as Johnson posthumously draws parallels between my life and that of Rasselas, unbeknownst to him. Rasselas is a prince of Abyssinia who lives in this place called the happy valley with all the other princes and princesses, who have never known any other place. Every need or desire that the royal sons and daughters could possibly foreseeably call for is thought of and provided for. And yet, in the face of this life lived in the lap of luxury, with no clear desires to be seen, Rasselas finds himself in a state of discontent. He realizes that he does have a desire – he desires something, anything, to desire. He comes to the conclusion that contentment in life is partially found in identifying and meeting one’s needs, but he has never had the chance to do this. He feels that there must be something better out there, and so he escapes from the happy valley to seek for his choice of life, to find the contentment he longs for.

Spoiler alert: Rasselas does not find the happiness he thought he would in the outside world, and ends up returning to Abyssinia, his high expectations having been disappointed. But reading this story brought into focus a thought I had been sort of looking at out of the corners of my eyes for a while – the idea that happiness is largely not created by your external circumstances, but your internal circumstances. Even if Rasselas continued to search for happiness, he would not have found it, because it’s clear that his main problem was that he just wasn’t the kind of person who found contentment easily. I know this because I am one of those people. I am good at identifying things in my life that I want to change, pretty good at changing them, and not so good at staying happy with these changes. So I’ve started to realize that the problem isn’t with my circumstances; the problem is with me.

And then I came across this article online last week.

“Life only sucks if you do.

I know, that is a strong statement. But you see, here’s the hard truth – life isn’t how we see it; how we see life is how WE ARE.

If you’re having a stressful day, you are actually bringing stress to the day.

If people are mean, you are bringing the judgment of mean to everyone you see.

If you can’t seem to get a break, it’s because you are choosing to see failure as permanent instead of a sign showing you where to go.

If life isn’t fair, then the rules you have made up about life are holding you back…

We get from life what we bring to it. Plain and simple.

This doesn’t mean things will always go our way; this doesn’t meant that tragedy won’t strike; this doesn’t mean that life won’t be challenging.

But, what this does mean is that we have the power to apply an empowering meaning to what happens and we can choose to learn and grow. Anyone who is successful has overcome challenges, personally, professionally and spiritually.

Our aim should be to train our minds to be strong like strong muscles, so that we can apply an empowering meaning to tough times. As we walk The Path we must become the person it takes to manifest our dreams, otherwise we are simply wishing, hoping and dreaming. We must act.

Going to the gym with weak muscles and just positive thinking your way through to being able to curl 100lbs won’t do it. We have to work. And we have to be willing to go through the pain, but instead of being held captive by the pain of growth, love it and be grateful for it.”

And now I decide how I want to be. Do I still want to look honestly at my life and identify the things that I could change to make life easier, happier, better, and then change those things? Yes. I always want to be growing, changing, knowing myself more and creating the life that I want to live. But I also want to learn to take things in stride. To face setbacks with determination and action, not with dejection and complaining. I want to find an inner equilibrium, something that will keep me steady through every stage of my life. A quote from Rasselas: “Do not disturb your mind with other hopes or fears than reason may suggest: If you are pleased with prognostics of good, you will be terrified likewise with tokens of evil, and your whole life will be a prey to superstition.” I take this with a grain of salt. I don’t want to lose the enthusiasm I feel when good things happen in my life, but my mind definitely gets disturbed by things a little too easily. I want to be just a little bit more steady than I already am. I want to focus just a little less attention on changing my external circumstances and just a little more attention on strengthening my internal state. That way, I know I’ll be ready to face whatever comes my way – and I’ll be able to do it with a smile on my face.


what makes life worth living (the thankful edition)

21 Oct

Well, here we are again with another weekly post and nothing in between it and the last one. A thousand pardons. I really am trying to think of ways to blog more. Really and truly.

I was going to do something a little bit different this week – I was going to chronicle all the good things about it in pictures, instead of making a laundry list of joyful things. But, as I always find, trying to get good pictures of things while you’re (a) at work, (b) holding a purse and a drink, (c)  having way too much fun to remember to drag out your camera can prove challenging. So that idea didn’t exactly work out this week. BUT in my attempt to make it work, I did get a few snapshots of some fun times. And I didn’t want to skip my weekly tradition just because it didn’t live up to my vision. I did decide to make it a little differently formatted though, as you’ll see in a second.

I’m off to work in a few minutes, but maybe when I get off I’ll squeeze in a moment between stopping by the Apple store to see if they can remove the shrapnel of charger that got stuck in my computer and finishing the belated first 10 pages of my novel proposal to upload some of those pictures I told you about. But until then…


I’m thankful for portobello burgers and sweet potato fries from the Veggie Grill. Also tapas. And Haven burgers. And cheesy eggs, and breakfast burritos, and turkey and cheese on a baguette. Mmm. (I thought I’d get all the food out of the way at the beginning.)

I’m thankful for what felt like a long, full night of some really quality hanging out, and yet somehow getting home at 10:45 anyway.

I’m thankful for buy-one-get-one-free silky florals at Forever 21.

I’m thankful for the insane variety of different kinds of fruit there are in the world. I mean, have you seen lychees? Are you kidding me? And think about apples, compared to bananas, compared to raspberries, compared to oranges…no two are the same. Such diversity. I love it.

I’m thankful for really honest conversations.

I’m thankful for naps, and really good nights’ sleep.

I’m thankful for the fact I had cold medicine I could bring to my brother, who was feeling under the weather.

I’m thankful for my funny roommates, and moments I share laughing with them.

I’m thankful for feeling more and more comfortable with myself.

I’m thankful for care packages from my mom that always come brimming with mascara and socks and mini stationery.

I’m thankful for vacation anticipation. (Next month: Utah, and Catalina, and maybe a semi-spontaneous surprise trip…)

I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the photo shoot that my roommate Janet was in charge of, for the spring 2012 lookbook for the designer she works for. I got to get all dressed up with two other beautiful girls and prance around grassy fields, alternately barefoot and in heels, for a good couple of hours on Tuesday morning in the beautiful foggy weather. It was SO much fun. (Also, I’m thankful for the yellow dress Janet gave me later that night!)

I’m thankful for wearing that dress out for a really amazing evening.

I’m thankful for Janet, without whose belt and shoes I wouldn’t have been able to wear the dress.

I’m thankful for laughing, rooftop bars, warm coats and seemingly deserted hotels with strange cryptic messages printed everywhere you look.

I’m thankful for Max Bloom’s Cafe Noir.

I’m thankful for English bulldogs, even though I don’t have one. Yet. I’m thankful that they exist so I can live with the hope that I will have one someday.

I’m thankful for the vase of baby roses my mom had set out on the nightstand in my old room when I got home last night.

I’m thankful for hugs from my parents before I go to sleep.

I’m thankful for yesterday’s makeup.

I’m thankful for Kyle, without whom my weeks would be much less full of honest conversations, and laughter, and rooftop bars, and turkey and cheese on baguettes, and sweetness.

I’m thankful for my Thursday night quasi-writing group and all the wonderfully hilarious, witty and sometimes creepy conversations we manage to pack into the course of one evening.

I’m thankful for all of the things I get the opportunity to do throughout my days, even when I’m stressed, and tired, and burned out, as I inevitably am.

What are you thankful for? Start your own tradition.

what makes life worth living

14 Oct

This picture of Mindy Kaling.

I really need to start blogging more…I feel like such a slacker having 3 (or is it 4?) of these posts in a row. But until inspiration strikes, here’s my list of what I’m thankful for this week.

My new job. I just started working on weekends at auction.com, and I really like it so far. It’s only been 3 days, but it’s pretty easy, the pay is AWESOME, and it seems like a really fun and chill work environment, even though I’m one of the youngest ones there and I sit in a cubicle. Today I was there from 8:30 until 2:30 and literally all I did was read over the terms and conditions, talk to Laura about beer and Zumba, drink some nasty tea, and write in my planner. Last week I bought an awesome breakfast burrito from the food truck that comes every weekday. Everyone who works with me is so nice, especially Laura. She’s the one who trained me, and her husband, son and daughter work there too. They’re all awesome. Laura in particular is hilarious. She’s my favorite.

Babysitting Milan and Fenja. On Friday night, I babysat for two of Scott and Mark’s neighbors, Milan and Fenja. I had never watched them before, but they come over to play all the time, and I absolutely love Fenja. Last week she was wearing one glove with the fingers cut off, and I said, “Where did you get that?” And she said “I did it in my room this morning!” She is the coolest 7-year-old ever. I got there as they were eating dinner and their mom, Saskia, gave me some pizza, which was delicious. Their family is awesome – Saskia is German, Paul is Irish, and they spend every summer in Europe. Milan and Fenja go to German school every Saturday, and their house is beautiful. It was so fun.

Good food. Highlights of this week: empanadas and croquetas de arroz from 1810, the Argentinean restaurant in Old Town Pasadena; making spaghetti and garlic bread on Monday night; making the best decision of my life and adding an apple to the smoothies I always make at work. New secret ingredient. It tastes divine.

Little things: Buying new books. Shopping in the men’s department at Forever 21 for really big and warm cardigans. Sitting in Starbucks working. The kindness of strangers. Crossing things off my lists. Talking to my Dad about life on Saturday morning and being made breakfast. Getting home after being away and putting away all my things. Doing something different. Hilarious moments with my roommates (like this and this.) Free furniture! Sage, a little girl at church, who drew a cat with windows for eyes on Sunday morning. Reorganizing our living room and hanging paintings. Reading Lolita out loud on the front lawn with Kyle. All the unique and eclectic people who go to my church. Shopping at Ralphs and Target. Eating hot chickn gumbo and watching Lost after a long weekend of not much relaxing. Glittery nail polish. Taking baths and reading Middlesex. Just deciding that some homework is optional. The park down the street from my house – there are so many trees! The ridiculous number of classes that have been cancelled this week, last week, and next week – I’m taking it as a sign that I need to start writing. The first three tracks off the Drive soundtrack (even though I didn’t see the movie). The mix Kyle made me. Making a weekly schedule. Skyping with Lauren. Passing out at 11 pm, waking up at 8 am and laying in bed doing homework. Watching Lost in Translation and getting a ton of new music. Talking about ideas in my Race and Ethnicity in American Literature class. The little old (possibly Hawaiian) man with the two big plumeria trees on my way to school who told me to “Pick one! Smell it! Put it in your ear!” when I complimented him on them. The fact that Kyle (and, I’m pretty sure, Melissa) took a leaf out of my book – or, rather, blog. Huge cups of coffee in the morning. How long my hair is getting. The nice guy who does my oil changes. Deciding just not to care about some things (frees up space for the things that really matter). Bagels with cream cheese and peppper (someone ate my tomatoes, but see?! I still love life!). Scott saying, “Thank you for helping me with my homework, Mallorey!” as I was leaving work. Eating at Portillo’s with Kyle at the end of a long day. He makes me laugh.


what makes life worth living

7 Oct

I’m writing this at 6:42 in the  morning, from my old bedroom at my family’s house. It has a couch in it now, an end table and a wide-screen TV, a bookcase and shelves filled with shells and driftwood my mom had probably been saving in some closet for years. The walls have been painted from the beige and red that I hated at the end to blue and white. It’s pretty much unrecognizable. I just went downstairs to get a glass of water and was surprised at how nostalgic such a simple act made me feel. Being at home. Not having to think about where the lightswitches are before I can find them. Walking into the kitchen that was the only kitchen I knew from the time I was four until I was eighteen, and again from when I was nineteen until I was twenty-one. I know this house will always be home in a way, no matter where I move to.

I spent the night here last night for the same reason that I’m up so early. I’m starting another job today at auction.com – the office is nearby, and I have to be there at eight. Waking up at 6:30 this morning was tough, even though I went to bed fairly early (like, midnight). I opened my blinds before I went to sleep last night because I was afraid that the two alarms I set both wouldn’t work, and I wanted the sunlight as a backup plan, since it always seems to wake me up when I don’t want it to. (This is how I am with things like this, especially jobs. I had a really long stress dream last night that I was reading a magazine and ended up getting to work at 9:00, only to realize I had no idea where to go.) The first thing I saw this morning (after turning off said two alarms that ended up working) was the sky outside my huge bedroom window that is one of the things I miss most about my old room. The sky has cleared up now, but it was a pale, pale yellow, the first rays of the sun only backlighting it – definitely not brightly enough to wake somebody – and it was spotted with dark, dark clouds. Rainclouds. It was absolutely beautiful.

That’s why I write these lists. Obviously things like what I eat for lunch and what movies I watch are not really what make life worth living. But sometimes, when you’ve had a really rough week, and you slept 7 hours on a couch bed in your old bedroom at your parents’ house, and you have to wake up at 6:30 am to start a new job and you’re feeling nervous, you need something like a pale yellow sky and some dark rainclouds outside your window first thing in the morning to get you out of bed. You need some beauty in the little things to remind you that there is joy to be found in life, always. The secret is to learn to appreciate those little things, and let them carry you through when some pretty big things seem be to going wrong. This reminds me of my favorite limerick, that’s posted on a plaque at the top of the staircase you climb when you’re waiting in line for Tower of Terror at California Adventure. It goes like this:

It’s easy enough to be pleasant
When life hums along like a song,
But a man worthwhile
Is a man who can smile
When everything goes dead wrong.

Part of the reason I love that is because of how wonderfully creepy it sounds, but it really does capture what I’m talking about. I’m trying to get better at noticing the things that make me smile when sometimes all I feel like doing is – whatever the opposite of smiling might be. So with that said, here is my list of things that got me through this week. Because thriving is optimum, but sometimes you just have to accept that in some moments, it’s not about the optimum. You can’t always thrive. Sometimes it’s about just getting through until things brighten up again.

Rihanna’s We Found Love.

Talking about travel dreams with someone who loves traveling as much as I do.

Yummy chicken tacos & chips and guacamole.

Singing Super Bass word for word.

Sleeping in an insanely comfortable bed.

Shopping by myself and new clothes.

Stopping at Target for bendy straws (Up & Up!) and earplugs.

A weight being lifted. Sweetness. Intentional conversation. Being goofy.

Drinking black coffee. Eating sauteed mushrooms with garlic salt and tomato and basil salad with olive oil.

Watching Lost.

Making resolutions. Starting anew.

The smell of garlic on my fingers after cooking.

Silliness at Disneyland and eating corn on the cob with salsa sitting on the ground at the end of the day while World of Color played in the background.

Getting a good night’s sleep and waking up early without an alarm.

Reading The Creative Habit every morning.

Eating frozen mango.

Kat Dennings in 2 Broke Girls.

Driving next to trains on Stage Road.


Waking up early to do the reading for my 8 am class, and realizing I didn’t have any to do.

A full tank of gas.

Max Bloom’s Cafe Noir.

Talking about art. (I forgot how much I love it.)

Putting my down comforter into my duvet. So warm and comfy.

A run-in with a girl I didn’t know on the way to school – we were both wearing white button-downs, blue jeans, and brown boots, and she smiled at me and said “Cute outfit! We’re kind of wearing the same thing!” It was funny.

Breathing deeply. Laughing genuinely. Sleeping wholeheartedly. Waking up happily. Feeling refreshed.

Writing (with OmmWriter) outside, in my sweatpants, slippers and Biola sweatshirt, as the rain fell and the wind whipped around me. Feeling like Danielle Laporte and Twyla Tharp were silently cheering me on.

Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott.

Feeling blessed, remotivated, enthusiastic, invigorated.

Pulling a huge hood over my head, watching water pour into a storm drain by the gallons and driving home in the pouring rain with the babykids.

Making chili-lemon edamame, SO GOOD.

Wearing a sweater and thick socks.

The mindfulness lab I went to at the Biola Counseling Center on Wednesday night. I have a feeling it’s going to help a lot.

The mini cactus and succulent gardens that Kyle’s mom sent me for my birthday. They are so fantastic and adorable.

Joking around in novel class.

Swing music.

Booking babysitting jobs.

Buying things I need at Target (and yes, I really mean need).

Antonucci’s, garlic bread, spaghetti with meat sauce, and good conversation. Feeling like someone flipped my “on” switch again.

My parents being so excited to see me when I got home.


So now I have to put on some pointy flats and go sit in a cubicle for six hours, but then I’m going to sit at Starbucks by myself and get some homework done and drink coffee, maybe stop by Barnes & Noble, and then spend the evening hanging out with two awesome little kids. What got you through this week?

what makes life worth living

30 Sep

My 22nd birthday! Sunday was my birthday, and I have to say it was probably the best one yet. (I mean, I got sang to four times.) On Saturday night, I celebrated with friends at the Library Bar in LA (which I highly recommend, if only because the two guys I talked to when I was in the process of making my reservation were the NICEST employees at any business I have ever encountered – and at a bar!!). It was such a good time, I was so glad that the people who came did, and it was the latest I’ve stayed out ANYWHERE in a while, which made me feel a little bit less like an old fart. (22!?? Seriously!??)

On Sunday night, I went to Lucille’s with my parents, my brother, Kyle, and my two grandmas, then had cake at my parents’ house. (Happy Birthday, round #3.) When I got home that night, Janet had baked me ANOTHER cake, and she, Lauren, and Raquel surprised me with it and sang to me when I walked through the door. (#4.) I feel so blessed after this weekend. Some other things that made it so special: everyone who texted me or wrote on my Facebook wall, Melissa trying to get the whole bar to sing to me (#1 – with little success, but it was still hilarious), Julian and Taylor’s card (on which Julian drew a picture of “Leo Trollstoy” reading Goats and Sheep), getting to go to the church service on Sunday morning for the first time in more than a month, my dad telling everyone it was my birthday and being sang to again at the leadership community meeting (#2), the backpack full of goodies that Ladonynia got me, family dinner with lots of laughter and conversation (and ribs and biscuits and macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and iced tea), a birthday cake with a baby picture of me on it!!! (“I want to feast on my own face”), making wishes, opening sweet cards and presents, lots of hugs, a yellow rose from my mom, a sweet card and gift from my nanny mom, Kyle’s insanely thoughtful and planned-out gift, Raquel singing Las Mananitas to me at the end of the day, and looking at baby pictures.

My friend Dana getting engaged! Dana is a missionary living in Ecuador who I’ve known since junior high. She just turned 27, and a while ago she started dating a guy she met in Ecuador, named Andres. I remember her telling us about him the last time she came to the States. A few weeks ago, I saw on Facebook that Andres had bought her a bulldog for her birthday, which I thought was the sweetest thing ever. And on Tuesday, she posted that he had surprised her with a trip to the beach, and when they got there he proposed. I was so blown away and happy for her when I found out. Dana is one of the funniest, most awesome people I know, and I have so much respect for her for doing what she does – being brave enough to live in a foreign country (not that it’s probably that foreign to her anymore) and give her time and energy – a LOT of energy – to God and the people of Ecuador. Even though I don’t talk to her much, I love watching her life from afar (as creepy as that sounds) and she totally deserves all the happiness in the world.

Plans for this weekend: sleeping in, getting back into my morning routine, going to yoga, starting my cleanse, catching up on homework, calling my grandmas, finally getting around to the September issue, doing my nails, watching Pretty Little Liars so I can get caught up in time for the Halloween special, reading The Innocents Abroad, catching up with some friends I don’t see enough of, adding documentaries and foreign films to my Netflix instant queue, getting my hands on some much-needed new music, planning October’s Sunday school lessons with Kirstie, cleaning out my car, and hopefully picking up Middlesex at Barnes & Noble and doing a little shopping.

Little things: animal-shaped pasta from Cost Plus World Market; tomato soup with garlic salt; living room parties; reading on the front lawn in the beautiful light of the sun setting; reheating Spanish rice on the stove (our microwave wasn’t working for a while, which was pretty annoying, but I have to say I’ve developed a new love for doing some things on the stove! It’s somewhat relaxing!); organizing the kids’ craft supplies on Sunday with Kirstie and emerging covered in glitter; getting homework done; wearing dresses and boots; my crazy friends; blueberry donuts!!! So good!!!; that final “Amen” at the end of the doxology; all the wonderful people I get to work and go to church with; getting a new picture of Maria in the mail; laughing about gluten-free Communion announcements every Sunday; being a licensed minister now, what?! (but seriously, if you need someone to do your wedding, hit me up); starting a new journal; blank notebooks, mmm; antique maps and shiny pushpins; gift cards; talking to my grandma Cynthia, she is a riot!; a fridge full of leftovers and cake; putting all my presents away when I get home; blessings, even reluctantly received ones; our microwave starting to work again!; mason jars full of #2 pencils; realizing I accidentally did this week’s reading for American lit last week!; cocoa butter; writing in my journal; coffee and chocolate cake for breakfast; deja vu; watching Lost; doing homework in a cool and quiet house; being honest about something I did wrong and apologizing; Google (happy 13th birthday!); an evening of sushi and Barnes & Noble; checking things off my to-do list; hot showers; pizza and salad; getting all my homework done at work and having the whole night ahead of me; watching Walk the Line with Kyle; climbing into bed at the end of a long day; a fingernail moon in a sunset sky; buying groceries; Sarah bringing me ibuprofen and a glass of water when I had a headache; hugs from the babykids; being taught German by a 7-year-old girl.

what makes life worth living

23 Sep

My morning walk to school. Every day, and often twice a day, I walk the fifteen minutes and half a mile to school, and then back afterwards. One of my main wishes when I was looking for a place to live for this year was that it would be walking distance from school. I don’t think I would ever give up my car completely, because I need to be able to get out of town, but I like to be able to walk as many places as possible. It’s refreshing, it’s relaxing, it fits in that little bit of exercise that human beings were meant to get every day, it’s good for the environment and for me. All or at least most of my roommates walk to school too, so we often run into each other, which is fun. I also started listening to my iPod on the way, which makes it much less tedious and helps me walk quickly (a must, since I usually leave about 5 minutes too late). I also really like to daydream while I’m walking.

Game night! Sunday night I put together a game night for the tiny college and young adult group at my church and it was a raging success. There were only a few of us there, but I was struck again by how well everyone gets along and how much fun we have considering how different a lot of us are, how little we have in common. It makes me happy. Also, I like Monopoly more than I thought I did, although I wish I could actually finish a game for once.

Little things: Dave Grohl; Dustin Hoffman’s cameo in The Holiday (and The Holiday in general); getting my eyebrows threaded; thrift shopping with my mom; sleeping in and washing my face first thing in the morning; my french cade and lavender scented Voluspa candle (thanks Melissa!); iTunes Genius; really big skirts with pockets!; Honduran food thanks to my roommate Raquel; Coldplay and Regina Spektor (especially this song and this song); lazy mornings that last until 3 pm; the Jungle Cruise; running around like a chicken with my head cut off at church every Sunday morning; freshly painted nails; starting Lost again!; driving with my brother to game night; impromptu dance parties; Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger; movies like 12 Angry Men that leave you feeling like you just had a really good intellectual discussion; hanging out with Julian and Taylor; sleeping like the dead; wearing clothes every day that are so comfortable they’re almost not appropriate to wear in public; daydreaming.

Watching videos of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing; spicy pasta; jazz music; girls in class who ask me if I’m not feeling well and give me Kleenex (I never remember to bring Kleenex!); Lauren Yun and Sarah Jurkiewicz; doing homework in bed instead of at my desk (not practical for every day but it’s nice when I’m tired and feeling gloomy and need a break); lighting matches; texts from my nanny mom that say “You ROCK! Thanks for all you do” (she is the best!); helping people out with advice; old songs; honest conversations; going out for breakfast (endless coffee refills are the best); meetings; talking theology at 8:30 in the morning; the fact that even when I sleep through my alarm I always wake up with just enough time to throw some clothes on, brush my teeth and get out the door; green smoothies; playing in mud; the Pirate setting on Facebook; jacuzzi hair; cleaning the living room; choosing not to let criticism bother me; being deliberately irreverent; happy days; the last page of a good, heartbreaking book; being more health-conscious; cuddling with MinPin; wearing a huge shirt and jeans and boots; date nights; knowing I can stay up late screwing around on the Internet because I can sleep in the next morning; Danielle LaPorte; blocking people from my News Feed (not in a mean way, just that I have a lot of Facebook friends and don’t want to delete any but only want to see updates from a few!); mornings talking with Chloe and Sarah and reading Mere Christianity in the backyard; the pilot of 2 Broke Girls; The Help at the Arclight in Hollywood; productivity planning (always).

what makes life worth living

16 Sep

Lazy and productive weekends. On both Friday and Saturday last weekend, I did the exact same thing: lazed around the house all day watching instant Netflix, blogging, and getting organized (aka streamlining my absolute mountain of lists); then showered and drove to Disneyland – Kyle’s parents came down for the weekend, bought passes, and invited me to join them. So much fun. Saturday morning was the best because I woke up at 7:45 am, jumped out of bed to a foggy morning, put on a sweater and thick socks(!), and headed outside to my new backyard work station (aka the desk I found by the dumpster at my old apartment complex), where I worked on my laptop to the sound of rain and thunder while the whole house was still quiet. Perfection. Then my roommates started to wake up and we all lounged around the house together. Also, Bridgette and her boyfriend Brian went on a donut run and brought me back the chocolate-covered custard donut I requested. Mmmm.

On that note, Disneyland. I don’t think I will ever get tired of it. I love having a pass because you can just go for an evening and not feel guilty if you only go on one ride and get coffee from the place on Main Street that has free refills. On Friday night we were about to get on Indiana Jones when a woman approached us and offered us two Fastpasses she wasn’t going to use. SCORE. Some of my favorite things about Disneyland: the place with the free refills, New Orleans Square and mint juleps, the lobby of the Animation building at California Adventure (I could sit in there for hours), walking down Main Street, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (which I simply refer to as the Pretty Pretty Princess store) on the Fantasyland side of the castle, watching old Mickey Mouse cartoons in the Main Street cinema, Pizza Port, chili cheese fries in the Golden Horseshoe, watching Fantasmic, eating at the Blue Bayou, Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast at the River Belle Terrace, and the door room on the Monster’s Inc. ride.

Little things: the sound of trains; my huge and wonderful bed and the feeling of getting into it after a long day (which is every day, these days!); tofu, sauteed mushrooms, brown rice and stir fry sauce for lunch; Kate Winslet; waffle sandwiches at Bruxie (the smoked salmon and dill cream cheese is AMAZING – I want to go back to try all of them); glass bottles; dad jokes (we saw Contagion with Kyle’s parents and as soon as it was over his dad started coughing really loudly – so funny); making a fall checklist of fun things to do; my mom and dad searching forever to find me a shirt at Disney World and coming back with the cutest sparkly Minnie Mouse one; holographic princess postcards; panini, peasant soup, mac & cheese, chocolate hazelnut gelato & good conversations with my mom after not seeing her for three weeks; Sunday productivity and getting organized; finishing Mad Men and starting where I left off on Arrested Development (her?); holding my hair up with a pencil; staying late at McClain’s; drive-through ATMs (seriously the best); curry chicken wraps from the Talon; Googling pictures of sloths; Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme; drinking water out of wine glasses; the fact that I can now choose not to go to class when I’m sick instead of the whole “call me if you throw up” thing that was going on up until high school (love you Mom…really); button-downs; manzanilla con miel tea (the only thing that soothes my sore throat); Nine Year Old realizing I was sick and running to get me medicine; Kyle risking getting sick and coming over to give me ice cream and a back rub; giving advice; actually getting my homework for the day done; The Amateur Marriage; wearing high heels; being silly; when the cast comes out to take a bow at the end of a play; sleeping in; WILD PARROTS; ice cream for breakfast.