Tag Archives: Happiness

Welcome Matilda and Madeline!

So remember when I mentioned Megan was working on an exciting new project?  Well, here it is!  She just launched a new Chicago-based business called Matilda and Madeline, Mother’s Helpers.

What mom doesn’t wish for an assistant to help plan meals, stock the nursery,  help figure out what to wear for that cocktail party or baby shower, run errands, plan an exquisite birthday party or to help efficiently reorganize your home to fit yours and your child’s needs?  Matilda and Madeline is your one-stop shop for it all!  The services she offers are above and beyond expectations.   Check out her site and put your feet up and relax for a bit while Matilda and Madeline do the work for you!

Congrats, Meg!  I’m so proud that you are following your dreams and doing something you love.  I have no doubt this will be a huge success!

xoxo

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Love What Your Mama Gave You

Today before my shower, I was brushing my skin and was thinking about how I would love to lose a little bit of weight.  I thought, man, my thighs are looking a bit thick and wouldn’t it be nice if my abs were just a little bit tighter?  Why am I beating myself up like this?  I’m a naturally curvy lady and I should be proud of what I have instead of having a negative body image.

Being a woman can sometimes be tough because everywhere you look there are models, actresses, singers who make a living flaunting their bodies, and it can leave us normal women feeling a wee bit insecure.

I’ve decided that I’m going to LOVE my body and appreciate it instead of being so hard on myself.  Nobody is perfect.  What is perfect anyway?

Positive thinking is sorta like working out.  You have to force yourself to work your brain muscles in order to keep those positive thoughts flowing.  So these are some of the things I am going to say when the mind starts to go negative:

I love my body because…

It allows me to live my life

It allows me to chase my little children around the park

It allows me to feel things and experience life

It is what God gave me, so I am going to nourish it with healthy food so I can maximize its potential

I will embrace my body and be thankful for all it has provided for me

I want to be a positive role model for my daughter and teach her that the shape of her body doesn’t determine her value in society

Who cares if you are too curvy, too skinny, too short or too tall?

We are all beautiful in our own unique way. Don’t forget that!  (that’s what I’ll be telling myself!)

I Heart Traveling

One of my favorite things to do is to daydream about traveling the world with my family. I get excited thinking about taking Stella and Harry to – the top of the Eiffel Tower, The Great Wall of China, on a safari in Africa, St. Sophia mosque in Turkey, the mountain tops of Switzerland, the Grand Canyon, the beaches in California, etc. You get the point.  I know they will love it and they might learn a thing or two from other cultures.

Our next destination?  New York City!  Actually, we are staying in Park Slope, Brooklyn visiting my fly sister Krystle and her boyfriend, Tim.  Fun times ahead!  I’ll share some stories and my own pics afterwards!

What’s The Point Anyway?

You may be wondering why I’m writing this blog, what direction I want to go with it and what the point of it is. Well, here’s how The InnerPeace Project started and what the goal is…

My quest for innerpeace started about seven years ago. I was 23, newly married, a college grad, just came back from backpacking around Europe for almost two months, had great friends and family – basically had a fantastic life, but I would suffer from intense anxiety. I was anxious about my career path, the state of my friendships, my family, not having enough savings, not having the latest purse, carrying on a few extra pounds…the important stuff, right?

I would get these terrible stomach aches that would literally stop me in my tracks and cause me to double over in pain. I saw several doctors and they diagnosed me with ulcers, acid reflux, IBS, and lactose intolerance. I had none of those.  I finally saw an insightful doctor who took the time to ask about my mental state. I told him my list of worries and he diagnosed me with trapped gas caused by anxiety. Hmmmm….anxiety was what was giving me these horrible, debilitating stomach aches? Interesting.  It turns out how and what I was thinking about was causing a physical/physiological effect on my body. Wow.

I went on a low dosage of an antianxiety medication and started to feel a bit normal again. I remember thinking to myself, ‘oh this is what it’s like not to worry so much.’ I was more even keeled – maybe a little too even keeled because I realized not only was I not experiencing the lows, but I wasn’t experiencing the highs either.

I got off the medication (it’s not easy and if you are thinking of doing this, please consult a doctor). After about two weeks of horrendous withdrawal effects, I started to feel normal again but the nagging thoughts were beginning to creep back into my head and I was starting that whole vicious cycle again. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who is the most empathetic person I have ever met. He would listen to my worrisome thoughts and finally he said, “Clear your head of the clutter.” That phrase struck a chord and made me realize, yes, I will not worry about things I have no control over and I will not feed that ego-driven aspect of my personality anymore.

Once I let go, things started falling into place for me. Because I wasn’t so preoccupied with negative or worrisome thoughts, I was open to broader and greater opportunities.  Great books fell in my lap, inspiring people came into my life, and I finally got that challenging and exciting job opportunity . Don’t get me wrong, I still went through trials and tribulations, but with my newfound attitude, life was just a bit easier to deal with.

I had all this free time to read as many books as I could. As I read and read, I would share information with my friends and family and could see that they were benefitting from the information as well.  I’m opinionated and love to help people. My dear friend, Megan, is very similar so we thought we would start a blog to share our thoughts, new information, and our stories.

As for the present moment…

Megan is heading down her own path right now and wants to help others in a different way. I will share her exciting situation as she progresses.

As for me, I will continue to read and meditate in pursuit for real happiness, MY innerpeace. I want to be a positive role model for my children, my husband, my family, my friends and to people who share a desire to live their best life possible. I try my best everyday and it’s HARD. I’m very far from perfect, but I am going to do my best to share what I learn in hopes of inspiring just one person. We don’t have to be a miserable society with jealous, hateful and negative thoughts.

This blog is my way of thanking the universe for all the opportunities that have been presented to me.

Let’s do this together and see what kind of difference we can make.  Good luck with your journey and wish me luck with mine!

Channeling Your Inner Kid

You know what the best thing about being a parent is?  Getting to relive your childhood again with your kids.

I encourage everyone with or without children, old or young to go out there and have fun for a day or even an hour.  Check out an amusement park, hit the swings at your local park, play hide and go seek with friends, sing at the top of your lungs, put your favorite song on and dance your heart out, shoot some hoops, have a water balloon fight, read a comic book, go fishing, ride your bike with no hands, LAUGH. Whatever it is, have fun.  As adults, we take everything so seriously.  Make a conscious effort not to worry about whatever it is you think about on a daily basis.  Put it aside for a bit and embrace that inner kid.

Encourage the people around you to do the same.  They will thank you and you might be surprised by how good you feel afterwards!

Nananana Booboo!  You can’t catch me!

Update On My Clean Journey – Life Is Good!

So let me tell you, the elimination diet is freaking hard. I didn’t realize so many things I put in my body are so toxic. The first few days of eliminating the “bad stuff” I had tremendous headaches, could barely focus, was extremely fatigued, and was soooo moody (sorry, family!) I thought to myself many times, ‘is it worth it?’

Eliminating caffeine was the worst. Ever have a caffeine headache? It feels like someone is taking a sledge hammer and whacking your skull. The first couple of days I had to give in and have a cup.

I haven’t actually moved into the detox stage yet – actually trying to get my body used to the elimination phase because I’ve come to realize this is the way I want to eat.  I want my diet and my family’s to consist of fresh, healthy foods without all of that crappy, processed stuff that’s out there.  I’ve just started the book Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and I’m feeling a bit frustrated with our food industry.  More on that later.

Now I’m going on my third week without caffeine and processed foods and I feel GREAT!

My moods are leveled and my energy is higher than ever. I think it has a lot has to do with caffeine.  Caffeine seems to be my enemy when I always thought the opposite.  Do I miss having a cup of coffee while my children are having breakfast?  HELL YES!  I miss the smell, the taste, and the whole experience of relaxing with my cup of joe, but I realized after eliminating it, it does me no good.  I’ve succumbed to some bread and a bit of sugar, but I am going to continue eating healthy (salads with lots of veggies, green tea, bean soups, and fruits) so I can continue to feel as good as I possibly can. I feel positive, enlightened, healthy, energetic, supportive towards my family, and young again. What more could I ask for?

I’ll continue to update y’all on this journey!  If you are up for giving up coffee or anything else for that matter and need some support, leave me a message at theinnerpeaceproject@gmail.com.  I’m here for you.

Trust Your Gut?

Lately, I’ve felt a bit confused, somewhat melancholy, and a bit lost and I don’t know why.  It’s a strange feeling because I normally feel the opposite.  Is it the weather?  Are my kids wearing me down?  Is it my lack of direction? The bad economy?  I don’t know why I’m like this, but I do know I want to change.  I want to be happy.  When I’m not feeling my normal self, my decision-making skills often do me wrong.  Not good.  I started to get down on myself and I realized I just need to trust my gut.  So simple, yet so difficult sometimes.  Whenever I go against what I feel is right, it almost always goes haywire.  Things don’t go as smoothly.  The decision I made becomes a struggle, and I always seem to have to work a little too hard to make it work.

So from here on out, I am going to make a conscious effort to trust what my gut tells me in terms of my life’s direction and have faith that it’s the only way.  So, the question is, how do I do this?  I think I need to be still and quiet my mind.  I must stop thinking of things that could happen and be present.  It’s so easy to talk ourselves out of what feels right.  I don’t think our brains are always right.  I know this probably seems like total crazy talk, but I am going to experiment and see how it works.  I’m not going to let anyone else or that little voice in my head convince me otherwise.  Wish me luck.

Music Inspiration: M. Ward, She & Him

Ahh, listening to the music from M. Ward puts me such a relaxed and dreamy state. Matthew Ward is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Oregon whose talent is effortless and innate.

My husband Neil introduced me to his music a few years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Last year we went to a show at The Vic and I was blown away by this man’s talent. He was on stage pounding his piano and jamming his guitar with such soul and passion – it made my heart pump with (musical) excitement.

His song Rave On (featuring Zooey Deschanel) from the Post War album makes me want to grab my kids or my husband and dance around the house.  When I listen the songs Rollercoaster and To Go Home, it mentally transports me back to 2006 when we were listening to his music and figuring out life with a newborn (Stella).

Now M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel collaborated again and came out with another upbeat record for their band She & Him.

Check it out!  It’s lovely.

Words to Live By In 2010


I received this forward from my friend and favorite yoga instructor Shannon Galton. Every line is simple and true. Great words to live by.

HANDBOOK 2010

Health:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for at least 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:
11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Feel free to share if you agree!

A.M.

So What Inspires You?

                                                                      Art work by Esther Aarts

People get inspired by different things.  I get inspired by Art (both creating and appreciating) and organization (a skill that I aspire to have).  My husband gets inspired by music, my sister – vintage fashion.

For some, sources of inspiration come from nature, photography, recycling, sex, exercise, children, traveling, reading, helping others and the list goes on.

Most times we feel inspired, but I think these days, more than ever, people are feeling less than inspired with the holidays behind us and chilly weather on the horizon for the next few months.  Why not dump these uninspired feelings and start finding or reconnecting with what makes us HAPPY?

What inspires you?  What gives you that “excited” feeling?  Is it your family? Your partner in life? Your job? It could be anything that makes your life feel purposeful and really pumped to be alive.

On the media side of things, it’s an easy time to get the encouragement.  Magazines, TV and a plethora of books are front and center with tips to help you “lose weight”, “detoxify your body”, “get organized”, “get connected with your family”, etc.  Let’s ride on this encouragement to find that something that inspires you and let’s feed it with love, hard work and happiness.

Please share your stories!  Would love to hear what inspires you.