Happiness is creating a tradition, *AKA* Friendsgiving

Friends are amazing. 

They hang out with you. They deal with your emotions. They teach you how to be a proper human. Well, sort of anyway. So why not celebrate them?

This year, we threw our first annual Friendsgiving! I had seen it around Pinterest and Reddit; so after we bought our house, it was the perfect time to celebrate.

What is Friendsgiving you ask? Well, it’s a lot like Thanksgiving, but filled with friends. You make the same foods you would for Thanksgiving. Sometimes, friends are better then family. Sometimes someone doesn’t have people to celebrate Thanksgiving with. This is why Friendsgiving is awesome. Don’t let the definition define the event. Make it your own. It is an imaginary holiday after all.

Here is how to throw a friendsgiving party

  1. Chose a date. No one will agree with this date. Accept it as a fact of life and move on. Most people who said they couldn’t go still managed to come later on.
  2. Decorate! This is the fun part! Write on pumpkins! Buy glitter! Make a fun photo backdrop.
    This plant is ready to party.
    This plant is ready to party.
    Creating the Friendsgiving banner with balloons all over!

    Well, decorations were an afterthought for me. I just went to Michael’s one day and went “Oh yeah, I have  a party tomorrow…. I should decorate” I’m sure the next few years will be more decorated.

  3. Delegate food. We created a facebook event and simply had everyone list off what they were going to bring. As a host, we supply the turkey, drinks, and paperware. We let everyone else fill in the blanks. We had so much food!
    Veggies, deviled eggs
    Veggies, deviled eggs
    Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING! SO GOOD!
    Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING! SO GOOD!
    Stuffing and savory foods
    Stuffing and savory foods

    My husband carving up the turkey.
  4. Do not cook the thermometer with the turkey.

    Ooops. Bad husband.
    Ooops. Bad husband.
  5. Open up some games. We had Wii games, we had card games. Most of the time was filled with chatting and catching up.
    Wii games with the corgi.
    Wii games with the corgi.
    Card games
    Card games

    This baby know that Link is awesome. Good on you mini-human.
    This baby know that Link is awesome. Good on you mini-human.
  6. Photos! Be sure to take lots of photos!
    It’s like a mini-high school reunion. Look at my nerds!
    Where the cool kids hang out.
    The baby steals the show.
    He ate all the fruit.

    Kojak steal all the attention.

At the end of the day, everyone had a great time. Every person there contributed to food. Every person had someone they could talk to even though we mixed social groups. Every person talked about doing it next year.

I’m so happy that we found a new tradition for our friends! Here is to your own Friendsgiving and our Friendsgiving 2016! 

Happiness is coming home to pets

Nala and Kojak

Happiness is coming home to two puppies (or any fuzzy love ball). The patter of puppy nails scraping across tile, the scent of dog breath, the dirt tracked all over, and the never ending (judgement free) love.

When my husband and I purchased our first home in April, we knew it wasn’t complete yet. We had both grown up with animals, and coming home to an empty house was intimidating.

18 dog
Kojak, 8 weeks old

After buying our home, we adopted two puppies. First we drove an hour to get Kojak. He is supposed to be a corgi, but we think we adopted a piranha. True story.

17 dog
Nala, 8 weeks old

Then we drove Kojak 40 minutes to get Nala. She was also an 8 week old corgi basset mix. Nala is such a human lover, she will lick a smile straight on your face.

While it is completely insane (and I mean completely) to train two puppies at once, I don’t regret it!

Other than the obvious cute factor, being around animals helps to reduce blood pressure and help cope with stress. They have super soft fur to pet, and the puppy breath will stink so bad you will forget about anything else. My puppies are really good at licking away tears. Grown man crying? On it. Small squalling baby human? On it, and then they will also clean up the mess the baby made. It’s awesome.

There’s also the lesson of joy you learn from just watching them. Kojak runs like a rabbit when I call his name. He perks up and hops over to my feet with a smile. Oh man, and when that puppy plops down at my feet for lovings, my heart melts to the floor right with him.

Kojak is regal

If you are ever stuck feeling lonely in your home, I encourage you to look into adopting a fur friend. Check out local rescues and classifieds. Adopt responsibly of course, pets do take a lot of time and resources. Make sure you plan for vaccination, microchipping, and supplies. Having a pet is worth it, but also being prepared will take away a lot of stress once they arrive.

Our floors are never clean, but our hearts are never empty.

Happiness is eating colorful food

Food is at the center of our lives. Most of us eat 3 meals a day and fill up with a few snacks in between! It’s no wonder that diet will play a role in happiness for a few reasons.

So road to happiness trick #1 is to eat all the colors.

And by colors I mean turn your plate into a rainbow.

Dinner! Carrots, peppers, onions, and garlic!
Dinner! Carrots, peppers, peas, onions, and garlic! Chicken was the protein side.

There’s just something about seeing a bunch of colorful fruits and vegetables. Your mouth waters, your stomach grumbles, and you kind of smile. It’s a rainbow that you can eat without hurting your cavities! Your dentist will be so happy.

Spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes
Spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes

Don’t forget about smell too! Food is an all encompassing sensory experience! The crackle of oil, the feel of grinding fresh herbs, the rainbow (how many times will I say that?) of colors, the smell *oooooh the smell *of freshly cooked real food.

Sometimes it's about contrast: deviled eggs with paprika and BACON!
Sometimes it’s about contrast: deviled eggs with paprika and BACON!

It’s not always about the color of rood, but also about contrast and bacon. Bacon is very important to happiness.

Whenever I start to feel a little gloomy, food becomes this little ray of sunshine. It perks up my day. I savor it. When I take my breaks at work, I like to eat my rainbows outside. It’s a nice little break that reminds me to focus on my senses rather.

Hopefully you too can find a little happiness in a rainbow.  🙂

A Happy Person

As a child, I never worried about happiness. As an adult it seemed elusive.

Birthday selfie: Happiness is cuddling up a to a book with a super soft blanket.
Birthday selfie: Happiness is cuddling up a to a book with a super soft blanket.

In elementary school I was always the kid teachers would send to comfort a crying child. I would always welcome in the new kids, even though I was shy myself, and make them feel comfortable. In middle school I moved states and suddenly my southern friendliness became a reason to ridicule me.

I started to grow my interest in psychology in high school. I would stow away in the school library during lunch (partly because I never had lunch money). I would visit book stores and read magazines that usually talked about finding happiness, and how to be happier in 30 days. In high school it seemed strange. Happiness seemed so natural, I couldn’t fathom why so many people struggled with it.

Then I became an adult. 

I graduated high school early, went to college and spent 4 years getting my BA in Psychology.  After getting swallowed up by the overly saturated job market, I finally got a job with a great company making good money.

About a year into my career with a manager who didn’t quite work with me, I realized that I wasn’t happy. I could pay my bills, but the fact that I wasn’t really helping anyone made me depressed. If there was an apocalypse, no would need (let alone want) an insurance agent around. In the workplace morale is the quickest way to change productivity. The agents around me all had coping mechanisms. Many people in my workplace really just chose to ignore their unhappiness and not think too deeply into their work. We made money, we had good benefits, we could take care of our families.

When you are unhappy, it’s not just affecting yourself. Your work tends to suffer; either your career or your home life. Your family and friends notice that you seem to complain more or are quieter and less apt to join in. But, you know what? Happiness is as equally contagious and grumpiness.

Glitter is my favorite color.
Glitter is my favorite color.

I want to change this. I want to make everyone happy. I want that to be my job. Let me make you smile. Let me help you share happiness.