Tag Archives: off the beaten path

The Happiness Project


I recently finished the book “The Happiness Project”, by Gretchen Rubin. It took me a long time to finish it but I finally did. It was an interesting book and so the content really had nothing to do with the time it took me to finish it. I love to read but lately I just find that for some reason I always wind up on the couch watching TV during my down time instead of picking up a good book. It’s a habit I want to change. Reading makes me happy and it’s something I want to make time for which is one of the points in her book (make time for fun) so it’s fitting to mention here.

Gretchen Rubin makes many good observations about happiness and her book is jam packed with great advice on how to be happier. She points out that trying to improve your own happiness isn’t necessarily a selfish goal. It turns out happier people are more likely to help others and less focused on their own problems. Also, helping others is a sure way to make yourself feel happier. This book is full of interesting aspects I never took into consideration about happiness and although Rubin makes many good points about happiness and gives a lot of great advice throughout the book, my two major takeaways from the book were one of her “personal happiness commandments” to “Be Gretchen” (or in my case “Be Stephanie”) and the other was one of her resolutions to cultivate gratitude. Continue reading

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Things I love about summer


Summer is by far my favorite season. I don’t even mind those almost unbearably hot days. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the tropics where almost everyday is unbearably hot and humid. But whatever the reason, summer is my favorite time of year. I know there is something beautiful in every season and even though I don’t like every aspect of every season, I can appreciate something in each one. In the winter, even though I hate the cold, I love the beautiful white snow that falls to the ground. In fall, I enjoy the seasonal pumpkin flavors of coffees, muffins and cheesecakes and the different colors of the leaves. In spring, the greenery that starts to appear means summer is just around the corner and I actually don’t mind those rainy days you get to spend inside curled up on the couch with a good book or movie. Yes, there is definitely something nice about every season, but I can go on and on about the positives of summer. Continue reading

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Lessons from Life of Pi

I saw the movie Life of Pi for the first time two nights ago. I haven’t had a chance to read the book, so I can’t compare the two. But what I can say about the movie is that I really appreciated all the quotes and life lessons. What a beautiful story of survival, faith and perseverance. I knew the basis of the story but I was not expecting it to be so moving. I must have cried like 15 times throughout the movie. Here are some of the quotes that stood out to me: Continue reading

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If you have me over for dinner, leave these items off the menu

I know it may come as a shock to most people to find out that there are actually foods that I don’t like. I’ll admit, it’s a rare occurence, but there are foods I don’t eat. It’s not that I despise them so much that I can’t eat them, but I certainly won’t order them off a menu and I generally don’t cook with them. Now, that’s not to say that I won’t like them in the future. My tastebuds certainly do change throughout the years. I used to hate macaroni and cheese (so weird right?) and broccoli and now I eat them both on a regular basis. But, for now, these are the foods I’m not so thrilled with.  Continue reading

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More Vacation Time Please

I have been out of college and working a 9-5 corporate job for a number of years now. I remember when I first graduated and got a job, the process of working full time kind of shocked my system. Don’t get me wrong, college was tough, what with the exams and the loads of homework, but college was also fun. Some days I had no class, or just one class. On those days, I’d come home, work on some homework for a couple of hours, but then I had the entire rest of the day to do whatever I wanted AND I could stay up as late as I wanted. The schedule was so lax. Not to mention, you get loads of vacation time. And you never realize how lucky you are until you graduate. I remember complaining about the homework and the tough exams and the annoying professors. Looking back, I wish I could tell my college self to enjoy it and stay in as long as possible. Those “super Seniors” really had the right idea. Stay in school as long as you can kids. Even change your major a couple times if you have to. Continue reading

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Up the Adventure factor

Hiking with Maggie

“What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!”  ~Logan Pearsall Smith
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The next 5 countries on my list

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I’m a total travel (and food) junkie. And although I don’t pass up opportunities to travel anywhere, there are a few countries that are on my “must see before I die” list. For the most part, these 5 countries are always near the top.

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An Obstacle to Cooking

Generally, I enjoy cooking. I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoy eating, but it is a hobby of mine and I try to make time for it as often as possible. Cooking is something that makes me feel accomplished. It gives me a sense of pride. There’s nothing like eating something delicious that you’ve actually created yourself! But there is something that deters me from cooking, and that something is, cleaning. Continue reading

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A beauty find…

I am nowhere near an expert on anything in the makeup/skin department (although I am an expert on anything related to food) but I do scan the beauty magazines at the grocery store and I do like to try out new products from time to time. And every so often I surprise myself by finding something that actually works quite well. Continue reading

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Home made potato chips – minus the fat

I received two very interesting Christmas gifts from my Pampered Chef this Christmas; one, which was recognizable and one, which was not. The recognizable gift was a mandolin (a very sharp kitchen utensil used for slicing). The unrecognizable gift looked like two black, plastic saucers. They were light weight and rubbery and had holes throughout.  My mom, seeing the puzzled expression on my face, explained that the two gifts were meant to be used together as a potato-chip making contraption. She assured me that the chips would be calorie free and delicious. I smiled and said thanks, wondering how much I was really going to be making my own potato chips when I could easily go to the grocery store and buy a perfectly good already-made bag. Continue reading

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