Simple Pleasure of the Week: Wearing an outfit you love

Ladies, I know you know what I'm talking about! Guys, this post might not be for you, sorry. Not sorry. Sometimes, if I'm having a really bad morning, I put on an outfit I love and it makes my day a little better. This picture was taken right after I'd bought that jean jacket and I was loving it at the time. Maxi dresses make me feel like I'm getting away with basically wearing a nightgown around town. Athleisure was the best invention ever because it allows me to feel cute running to the grocery store dressed in basically the most comfortable clothing on this planet. This simple pleasure can apply to an outfit you like the style of and/or just something that feels good on your skin. Personally, I'm not even sure if I'll bother to put on jeans this weekend because what are weekends if not for wearing yoga pants? Have a good one!

Shows We've Been Loving On Netflix

Shows We've Been Loving on Netflix. Happiness | Collective

I do believe we all fall on an energy spectrum. Some of us have high levels of energy and feel most at home when we are "doing", and some of us feel most at home when we are "being". I tend to fall more on the lazy side of the energy spectrum. There's nothing I love more than a rainy day spent watching something amazing on the television, cuddled up with a cup of tea and some dark chocolate or a big bowl of popcorn topped with nutritional yeast. Life is all about balance, and sometimes getting lost in a movie or TV show is the best form of medicine. I love hearing what others have been loving on Netflix, so I thought I'd share some of our favorites below in no particular order.

  • Stranger Things: Matt and I devoured this show! If you like thrillers, the paranormal, magic, or if you grew up in the 80's you will love this show as much as we do. Watch the first two episodes and you'll be hooked. Netflix killed it with this one. 
  • Friday Night Lights: This is one of my favorite shows of all time and I hate football with a passion. This show is about so much more than football. You will fall in love with the characters and the story. The acting is phenomenal, and the cinematography makes you feel as though you're actually watching this story unfold.
  • Parenthood: This took us a few tries on the first episode, but once it hooked us, it hooked us good. We flew through this series, and loved every minute of it. If you're a parent, you'll love this show. We aren't parents yet, and we still loved this show. The characters are complex, you will fall in love with this family, and get sucked into their story.
  • Sense8: Oh this show! This show might be my favorite show of all time. It follows a group of 8 people all over the world who are connected through their senses. Something happens to wake up their connection, and the story that ensues is riveting. This show makes me both so happy and so sad because I love it, but Netflix won't be creating a third season. To preserve the integrity of the story, there will be a 2-hour closing to end the series properly. 
  • The OA: For some reason I feel like this series has flown under the radar. It's phenomenal. The first episode starts off with a scene of a young woman jumping off a bridge, and shows her waking up in a hospital bed. She identifies herself as "the OA" when asked her name. Later hospital staff find out she's been missing for 7 years, and before she went missing she had been blind her entire life despite the fact that she has perfect vision now. That's all I'll tell you. Watch it. 
  • Love: This is a really quirky show chronicling a love story between two young adults. This is a great Netflix original series to check out. 
  • Master of None: Truth be told we haven't watched the second season but first season is definitely a winner! Master of None was a pleasant surprise for us. We didn't expect to like it as much as we did, but definitely a good show to check out when you need your spirits lifted. 
  • Sherlock: The first 3 seasons of this show are solid! I think everyone knows the story of Sherlock Holmes, but this was a very well-done version. 
  • Black Mirror: I'm adding this one to the list per Matt's request. He definitely enjoyed this series more than I did. Each episode is a new mini story about the future and some dark aspect of technology. It's a dark show for sure, definitely interesting, but don't expect it to raise your mood. Proceed with caution on this one.

When you're feeling lost, lonely, bored, or just in need a good binge, I hope this list helps. Are there any shows you've been loving lately that didn't make it onto this list? We are always looking for new ideas!

Happy Weekend!

I truly believe we draw in experiences that provide the opportunities to learn the lessons we need to learn, to heal the wounds we need to heal, to feel that which we've been avoiding. Feelings, situations, negative behaviors or relational patterns will continue until we've learned what we need to from them. It's all opportunities for growth and evolution even if it doesn't feel very good in the moment. May you learn what you need to know along the journey. Happy Weekend!

Raw Energy Bites

These are such a simple treat to make, require no baking, blending, boiling, or cooking of any kind really. They're raw, so it's just a matter of putting ingredients together. Also, they're so good. I've brought them to yoga potlucks, served them as dessert after dinner parties, and fed them to my hungry husband. They are delicious, but also people seem to be so impressed when you tell them it's a raw, plant-based treat. I do think of these as a healthy treat. They are filled with whole food, good for you ingredients, and contain good plant-based protein. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried oats
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup nuts (I used chopped walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts)
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut

Directions: Add all dry ingredients in the bowl first: oats, hemp seeds, nuts, cacao nibs, coconut and mix together. Next add in wet ingredients: almond butter, honey, vanilla extract and mix together. Once the mixture is completely combined, wet your hands with cold water (this helps the mixture from sticking to your hands) take a small portion of mixture and roll it into a ball, arranging them on a parchment or waxed paper lined baking sheet. You may have to wet your hands a few times until you have the balls completed. Once the balls are completed place them in the refrigerator to cool and enjoy after 10-15 minutes of chilling. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy whenever you need a bit of energy or just a little treat. These will keep for about a week but I'd be amazed if they last until then. 

Simple Pleasure of the Week: Street Art

This week's simple pleasure involves something almost every town/city has in it: street art! Street art is an unexpected, glimmer of beauty, celebration of self expression, visual treat. Street art is evidence that somebody cared about that small corner of town. At the very least, it is a cool Instagram photo opportunity. Sometimes, I remember to stop and appreciate street art, but if I'm being honest, I often don't even acknowledge its presence. It might be fun to take a walking tour of your town in search of street art. Wine and food stops are optional (but in my opinion necessary). This week I'm going to make a point to take pause and enjoy this simple pleasure. 

Live Well: Diet Habits of those who live past 100

As part of the Live Well series here on Happiness | Collective, today we are focusing on the diet of centenarians (people who live past 100). In the book, The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner outlines major diet guidelines the blue zones/centenarians have in common. Below is a compilation of these guidelines and please take note, almost all, if not all of the Happiness | Collective featured recipes fall into these guidelines. Check out past recipes featured on the blog here.

  • Eat a mostly plant-based, whole foods diet. The Blue Zone food guidelines suggest the 95/5 rule for diet meaning 95% of your diet should be plant-based foods (e.g. fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds), while the other 5% could comprise of animal products (e.g. meats, dairy, eggs, butter). Also, eat mostly whole foods. Bob Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods Market defines whole foods as foods where "nothing bad has been added, and nothing good has been taken away" (basically anything you buy in a box or baked goods would not be considered whole foods). Check below for a link on his diet tips. In my opinion, if you can only make one of these changes, I think this one would have the biggest impact on life expectancy and quality of life. 
  • Eat beans, nuts, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. These are the power foods that should consistently comprise your diet. According to the blue zones diet you should strive for up to 1 cup of cooked whole grains (e.g. quinoa, brown rice),  1 cup of beans, a serving of nuts and/or seeds, and plenty of veggies every day.
  • Avoid Sugar, processed foods, sodas, and diet sodas. Remember, whole foods are foods where "nothing bad has been added, and nothing good has been taken away". This rule of thumb applies to all beverages as well. Matt and I have given up sodas completely and drink mainly water, coffee in the morning, or tea at night. We often squeeze lime into sparkling water for a refreshing treat with dinner. Best news ever: wine is allowed, and actually encouraged on the blue zone diet (in moderation of course). 
  • Bread should be whole food and naturally fermented or sprouted. If you've ever turned over a bag of bread and read the ingredients in conventional supermarkets, you know that so much bad stuff is added to bread. The only bread you should be consuming should be made with whole ingredients (e.g. flour, salt, water) and naturally fermented or sprouted. Naturally fermented sourdough goes through a natural fermentation process which breaks down the phytic acid found in bread making the bread much easier for our systems to digest and making the nutrients found in the whole grains available to us. Unfortunately this bread is much harder to obtain since its a lengthier, more labor intensive means of baking bread. Read more about the process here. Sprouted bread is easier to find in the supermarkets and while I don't believe it's as good as a true naturally fermented sourdough, sprouting does break down the phytic acid as well, decreasing the negative impact the bread would have on your system. 

That's really it guys. The blue zones diet is really quite simple. Eat whole foods, mostly plants, drink plenty of water, and avoid sugar and processed foods. Fairly simple, but not easy to follow. In doing research on the blue zones diet, I was pleased to discover this is mainly the diet Matt and I follow. In the future I may do a separate post on the food philosophy Matt and I follow. It's far from perfect, especially since we both have a sweet tooth, but it's always a work in progress. Happy eating, and I'll list some diet-related links below that I've found particularly interesting:

Happy Weekend!

Some days you get all your business done, exercise, make dinner, get some good reading in, and then other days you just binge watch Bachelor In Paradise. Okay, maybe that's just me. But seriously guys, life is all about balance. We are not perfect, and eating perfectly or dressing perfectly is not perfect at all because... life is all about balance! You have to take the good with the bad, the productive with the lazy, the days where the universe totally has your back and the days where the universe must be pissed as hell at you. Such is life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Hope you have some good balance this weekend. Happy Weekend!

You Know You're A Yogi When

I wanted to give you guys more of a fun post this week. Matt and I both love yoga so we had fun thinking of yogi indicators. Some are more serious, and some are just a bit silly. I'm definitely guilty of all of these (especially the silly ones). You know you're a yogi when:

  1. You wear yoga pants more than "real" pants
  2. Your diet involves the words "gluten free", "vegetarian", "vegan", "organic" or "sustainable"
  3. You decline invites from friends because you can't miss "class"
  4. You always know when kombucha goes on sale at your local supermarket
  5. Sore muscles are a regular occurrence
  6. You know the meaning of "namaste", "om", "ujayi", and "chaturanga"
  7. You consider mala necklaces a fashion statement
  8. The perfect weekend involves savasana

Simple Pleasure of the Week: Games with Friends

I've been reflecting more lately, about how almost everything costs money. Meals out at restaurants, spa days, movie theaters, shopping, it all costs money. I often find myself browsing online shops when I'm bored and wonder, where did all the good clean fun go? I used to love to color, draw, talk on the phone with friends, go hiking and camping, playing hide and seek outside until dinnertime. It's now that I need simple pleasures more than ever. Remember when we were younger and we got to hang out with friends all day everyday? Remember recess? I spent recess mostly at the tetherball and foursquare courts, playing games with friends. Later, I played soccer on club teams, and sports in high school. That was fun. Playing games with friends, outside, moving your body is such a simple pleasure, one we grew up with, something that's in our blood, and yet something we rarely do these days. Matt and I were recently invited out to golf with friends. We all shared a set of clubs, talked throughout the game, and didn't take it too seriously. It was such a simple pleasure. Games outside with friends, around the world or a game of pig on the basketball court, board games, card games, it's all fun with the right people and for this reason, games with friends is this week's simple pleasure.

Why everything We love will eventually lead to our suffering

I've heard it said that everything we love will eventually lead to our suffering and since then, I've thought about this concept, more and more, noticing its truth in my everyday life. Can we ever have something purely bring us joy without suffering? I'd argue no. Everything that we love, eventually, someday, will lead to our suffering, because we love it so much. So many romantic relationships end with divorce or a break-up, and that ending is often a painful process. Even the truest, purest relationship, will eventually end as one partner dies. My friends and I are at that age where starting a family is a common topic of thought and discussion. We love the lives we live with our husbands that even though having children will be a great joy, there will be a loss of the life we spend together, just the two of us as husband and wife. Health, sports and taking pleasure in what you can do with your body in yoga, competitive sports, etc. will eventually lead to your suffering as you age and your body can no longer perform the way it used to. I worked with a man who loved his job, and because he loved his job, retirement threw him into a depression. There was a void left by the loss of his job, and the parts of himself that were fulfilled by his job (e.g. identity, social opportunity, purpose) were lacking that fulfillment. Even how we define ourself will change over time, and the parts of ourself we are able to express will change as our relationships change. Think of a mother who when her child is small, holds and nurtures her child. As the child grows, the 'mother' she is able to express will change as the child no longer wants to be held, or wants more freedom in adolescence. Eventually, the child will leave the home, and the mother has to redefine herself. A mother, she will always be, but how she expresses that and the relationship between mother and child changes over time as the child becomes an adult, and starts a family of his or her own. Everything we love will eventually lead to our suffering, and yet, we must love anyways, responding to the calls of our heart and our spirit. People come and go in your life, relationships evolve or devolve, change is constant, and when we love something with all our hearts, it hurts when that thing, or experience, or relationship changes. This is what it means to be human. To live and to love, to experience joy and to suffer. And, beautifully, our suffering from that loss, is also affirming of the fact that we loved, of the contribution that thing we've lost had on our lives. And, we must love even with the knowledge that our love will also, eventually, be the source of some suffering, that contrast between the two is what gives each its meaning. Love with all your hearts, and try to show yourself compassion when you are in the place of suffering, of mourning, knowing that even the suffering will eventually end and change as all things do.