Life is happening FOR us, not TO us.

Ok, I’m going to go a little deep on ya compared to our typical fashion, food, or fitness filled blog post. I promised you at the New Year that I was going to elaborate on finding joy and happiness in posts to come- so this is my first one. I would love to know your thoughts and feelings…..

I would like to ask you a question, Are you happy?  I would assume that if you were able to answer my question, you would probably say, “Sure I’m happy”… although you would probably use some kind of qualifier such as…

But when this project is done at work, I will be happier…  or

When my kids get a little older and more independent, I will be even happier… or

When I own a home, get a better job, have better health, or have more money or when my spouse does this or that, I will definitely be happier than I am now.

The purpose of our existence is to have joy. Why can’t we have joy now and not qualify it when some future situation may or may not happen?

I have struggled with what I call “cheap happiness” – happiness that is based on whether or not something is going my way, or whether or not other people have or have not let me down, or things of that nature. So, that is why a year or so ago I decided to truly figure out what is happiness and make a choice in my life to live in a beautiful state instead of a suffering one- which is one that is any feeling or emotion that removes you from your happy state.

I once read, “The trick is to enjoy life.  Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”  I think there is so much wisdom in that statement.  Things might now be perfect in our lives at this very moment but we can be joyful despite our trials.

So how do we do this?  Well, we can understand where happiness comes from.  Feeling happiness is a conscious choice we make for ourselves.  We must choose to be happy.

From one of my favorite guys, Tony Robbins, I will paraphrase : There are two states you can live in- a beautiful state or a suffering state. You are either progressing forward in that beautiful place or life, or you are moving backwards. There is no stationary. If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There’s a survival mechanism in our brains that is always looking for what is wrong. That is what it does. You can fight it or flight it. Our primitive brain was looking for survival- avoiding tigers and making fire- we don’t have that anymore so now it worries about what people think, or do I have enough money. The mind is always looking for what’s wrong; however, there is always right there too.

Happiness has almost nothing to do with our circumstances and everything to do with our attitude.There is an exception here and that is with those living in extreme poverty that do not have shelter or food or a way to fulfill their basic needs.  This group of people tends to benefit and actually become happier when those basic needs are met. How do we choose to be happy when we’re experiencing a trial or we suffer from depression?

I’ve noticed in my own life, when I’m depressed, I seem to turn inward.  I think that my suffering is someone else’s fault and they are the reason why I’m not happy.  I start to think that happiness can be found anywhere but the stage I’m in and I begin to feel sorry for myself.  I begin to be selfish and only think of my own needs and my own sorrow.  This is not a nice way to live.  I have seen members of my family wallow in this thinking their whole lives and shut everyone else out.  This thinking destroys their life and pushes their loved ones away. I’ve learned by watching them, this is not the way I want my life be.

Life is happening for us NOT TO us- it is our job to find out what the benefit is – if we do life can be magnificent.

My dress- sold out- but similar here : ivory coming soon

to be continued….

tips for the busy

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Working a full time desk job, running an online business, and taking care of a 10 month old has got me bizzzeeeee…  During the week I leave for the office around 7a and don’t get back home until after I pick up the baby from daycare at 6p.  From there it’s a mad dash to get Denton fed and ready for bed, dinner made, the house picked up, and ready for work the next day.  Yes, the hubs is there to help, but he’s also got a day job, side biz, and extracurriculars too.  HOW DO PEOPLE DO IT?!?!

Here are some tips and tricks that have really helped me stay sane…

1. Keep lists.

I keep a list in “Notes” on my phone of:  (i) Things to do, and (ii) Things to get.  It sounds basic I know, but it’s a MUST.

In the “to do” section I add things like “pick up laundry after Thursday”, “schedule Bisou’s vet appt in March”, “measure and order blinds”, “Nordstrom returns”, etc.  These are the things I need to remember to do, but don’t want my brain cluttered thinking about them.

And even more helpful I think is the “things to get” list, which I have subdivided into:  (i) groceries, and (ii) other stuffs.  If I’m rummaging through the kitchen and realize we’re out of salt, or eggs, soy milk, or heaven forbid coffee — it goes on the list.  Toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning solutions, diapers, wipes, printer ink — whatever we’re running low on, it goes on the list as soon as I notice it.  Which brings me to my next tip…

2. Amazon Prime.

If you don’t already have it, spend the $100 and get Amazon Prime. It’s worth it for the free and fast shipping alone, and it comes with music and video streaming perks too!

Once a week or so, take that “things to get” list and use it to place an order via Amazon Prime.  Voila!  It shows up at your door a day or two later — sometimes even faster!

3. Instacart.

To tackle the groceries part of my list, I turn to Instacart.  Instacart is an app that you can download and use to place grocery orders at your local market.  Simply shop the grocery store online, and then they package it all up for you and deliver it to your door on the date and time you request— OMG SO AWESOME, RIGHT?!!  Yes, there’s a small charge, and yes I always tip the driver, but for me it is SO WORTH IT.  Grocery shopping is among my least favorite chores.  ughhh.  yuck.

4.  Slow Cooker Freezer Meals.

Yup.  That’s how I cook these days.  I also like the dinner kit services (see my review of Blue Apron, Gobble, and Hello Fresh here), but those still take some effort and on week nights that’s hard for me.

If you don’t know, a “slow cooker freezer meal” is a bag of ingredients that you can pull from the freezer in the morning before heading out to work, dump the contents into a slow cooker or crockpot, and cook on low for ~8 hours.  Then when you walk into the door that evening, after a long full day, you’re welcomed by the smell of a home cooked meal that can be served up with minimal effort.  It’s genius.

A few weeks ago, out of hunger desperation, I was googling freezer meal recipes and stumbled across this gem from a fellow blogger.  It’s 8 pages of super easy slow cooker freezer meal recipes and a master grocery list in printable format.  IT’S LIKE I HIT THE JACKPOT! Click here and print it now!!  I shed a tear of joy on the spot.  I immediately filled my virtual Instacart cart and had the groceries delivered first thing Saturday morning.

Here’s the menu: chicken teriyaki (x2), chicken chili (x2), honey dijon pork and green beans, hot pepper pork and butternut squash, beef fajitas, and pepperoncini shredded beef.

If you follow the grocery list and recipes, you’ll end up with 8 freezer bag meals, each with about 3-6 servings, depending on appetites.  I spent about $120 on the ingredients (including some extras), so it breaks down to roughly $15 per meal, or $3 per serving.  Not bad IMO!

5. Lay out your clothes.

And finally, I lay out my outfits for the next couple of days the night before.  I like to have  at least 2 outfits on the ready so I have options to fit the weather and/or my mood.  This saves me a signifiant amount of time in the mornings and I cannot recommend it enough!!  No longer am I trying things on and throwing them on the floor.  My outfit options are hanging there, ready to go, I just have to pick.Targetdress1

What are your tips and tricks??  Please share, I’d love to hear them!!

xoxo
-ash

Giveaway time!

We have teamed up with some of my favorite shops for a fun giveaway! My little Rem is now 5 months old (where has the time gone?!) and I wanted to share some of my favorite places to shop for things for her- as well as things for me!

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my dress

Here’s a little bit about each shop:

Petite Coo: This cute shop was at a pop up shop we were involved in over Christmas. I met the owner and she is just as adorable and sweet as the clothes she designs! The outfits I have bought from her for Rem are by far some of my favorites that she has. She wears them ALL the time. They are cozy and cute.

Canyon Leaf: I found canyon leaf after looking for raw baltic amber jewelry. They then custom made anklets for myself and my two girls when I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. They took the time to make sure it was exactly what I was wanting and the perfect fit. My Hadley and I wear ours daily- never taking it off- Rem, wears hers when she is not sleeping.

Emeroo: I actually met the owner of this cute shop by chance. I needed some new bows for Rem before we went to Texas a few months ago- so I searched for local etsy shops- messaged her asking if she could have them in time and she got them done the next day and I picked them up so I could take them with me! We met again at the same pop up shop that I was doing over Christmas. She makes the cutest bows. Both of my girls love them.

Make sure you enter the giveaway on our instagram post and show these cute shops some LOVE!

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Ash’s obsessions

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foxiedox dress.  Gorgeous lace dress in a fun blue for $150!  Can I get a date night please!!?!!

leopard mini dress.  A flirty and feminine yet modest take on a sexxxy animal print.

lace shift dress.  This super versatile little number is only $65!  Pair it with a blazer and flats; OTK boots and a sweater; or leggings and a jacket.

 

Aj’s obsessions

Kaanas Slip-on Flat. I have these in white and black and LOVE them. This color is fun and on SALE! $87!

Emerald earrings. Statement earrings are a fun way to dress something basic up! Love these colors. Oh, and they are only $18.

H&M wool blend coat. This coat looks way more expensive than it is! Love the high neck and the simplistic shape. It comes in light gray, pink and blue!

 

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Ash’s obsessions

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let is snow sweater.  I do love me a cheesepuff sweater, especially when they’re less than $30!  This one is perfect for a trip to Tahoe this winter!

knitted dress.  This dress with some suede OTK boots is my dream casual chic look.

leather tote.  Throw it over your shoulder or wear it cross-body – and it’s in the perfect shade of grey to carry with everything!!

Aj’s obsessions

Rag & Bone backpack. I am obsessed with backpacks these days. They have replaced me carrying a purse! Love this one. It’s easy to get in to- comes in colors, and will last forever.

Lace Paneled Dress. Such a sweet, pretty, girly dress- that looks way more expensive than $68!!

Moth Intarsia Pullover. This is right up my alley- sweater, neutral colors, fitted but not too much- and a basic pattern.