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Archive for the ‘my happiness project’ Category

DOIN’ stuff

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

A friend of mine and I have been having these very serious discussions regarding what people do.

Not, like, as a career (although do we talk a lot about that). More like what you do, during the day. Like right now, I’m sitting on a couch, watching Family guy, sipping wine, and writing this post (yes, I probably published this Tuesday morning – rest assured that I didn’t write it Tuesday morning).

My friend, as I understand it, is of the opinion that certain things are sort of a waste of her time. Television, for example.

I don’t really understand how that whole attitude came about. I’m not calling her out, specifically. This is a widely held opinion and one that I frequently fall prey to. Reading is better than the radio, which is better than tv. Writing is better than reading. Meditating is, perhaps, better than writing. Working is better than meditating. Volunteering is better than working.

In some cases, this totally works. If you’re supposed to be working and someone is paying you for the outcome, you maybe shouldn’t be watching tv.

In other cases, though, I’m a little confused. Why, exactly, is reading better than watching tv? Really?

I was trying to relate this to sexual predilections the other night when talking to Crockett, and I wasn’t quite successful in my comparison. I was trying to say that we (we being cool people) have reached the conclusion that whatever weird sex people like is fine, as long as they’re doing it with other people who also like it and want to be there. The same cool people should be ok with whatever you do in your spare time, as long as you want to be doing it and aren’t hurting yourself in any major way (skipping work repeatedly to watch tv probably counts as hurting yourself).

As I said, doesn’t quite hold up.

Anyway, why is watching tv a worse way to spend your than reading? Or listening to the radio a worse way to spend your time than meditating? Where does that idea come from?


Thursday, April 7th, 2011

If this blog were a baby, some court would have deemed me absentee sometime in the last couple of weeks.

It’s not that I’ve been busy. I have been, but I used to write every day while I had a whole buncha shit to do. It’s not that I’ve been lazy. I’ve been doing stuff, left, right, and sideways. It’s that I haven’t had anything to say. I’ve been all conflicted, and blahblahblah, and just insert Charlie Brown’s mom here for awhile, ok?

For about a year now, I’ve been writing for a collaborative blog called The Road More Travelled. The bloggers are me and the mindblowingly  fabulous woman who has been my best friend for 17 or so years.

Last week, I told her I had to cut back on The Road posts.

I expected anger, or something, but she was all ‘dude, of course – whatevs’. Ok, not really. She doesn’t say ‘whatevs’. She’s classier than me.

The thing is, I feel like I have to be all smart on The Road. We’re making a point. We’re experiencing and we’re writing about it. We’re blogging about our quarter-life crises.(Yes, I am going to live to be 120 – you want to fuck with that?) We’re saying REAL THINGS.

I feel obligated to be smart.

I also have a food blog, called Mangled Baby Duck. (You know you wish you owned It’s a cross between a recipe blog and a diary. It’s a pain in the ass, to be clear. I take pictures. I upload them and edit them and then write about what’s in them. The lemon asparagus risotto recipe I just posted took me almost as long to write down as it took me to make (which was a long fucking time, thankyouverymuch).

I feel obligated to make, eat, and do interesting things.

Here, though?

I don’t feel obligated to do jack all.

I feel obligated to be myself. To yap at whoever happens to land here, from the wide world of the internets, if that whoever feels like reading. Basically, to yap. I feel obligated to curse if I feel like it, but not to curse if I don’t feel like it. I feel obligated to show my cranky pants when they’re what I’m wearing, and to show my enthusiastic pants when they’re what I’m wearing.

I like it here. For some reason, that has made me feel bad lately. I feel bad because I don’t feel bad about being not-always-interesting, or not-always-smart.


It’s, what, a blogger thing? A girl thing? An Emma thing? A person-under-5’2″ thing? Who knows.


I’m back.

Feeling bad is for chumps.


Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Once, when I was in middle school, a girlfriend told me that it’s inappropriate that my middle name is Joyce, because someone with that name should be someone who brings joy to the people around her.
The same girl also continually pursued boys I liked and was too shy to talk to, and refused to eat the manicotti that my dad made for my birthday one year because she was, as far as I can tell, a cranky bitch who wanted everything to be about her.
In retrospect, I have no idea why we were friends, but we were.

For awhile here, I was blogging about my happiness project (inspiration courtesy of Gretchen Rubin). I had a whole bunch of things that I was going to try, from taking care to get sick less often to laughing more.

Turns out all I needed to raise my personal joy level was to go back to school. Yes, I am miserable. It’s hard and I’m overwhelmed and I’m not succeeding in the effortless way I grew used to as a low level manger with minimal responsibilities. I am trying my brain more than I ever have before, including as an undergrad. I am too busy to spend time with my friends, which is good because I don’t have any money to go anywhere anyway.
Yet, here I sit, joyous.
I am joyous in my busyness and my overtaxed brain and my struggling to catch up.

I’m not going to say that I bring joy to those around me, but for now? I’ve at least earned my middle name for myself.

Which is good, because my school email includes it in my signature line. Sure, I could change it, but at this point?
Owning it.

no, no, no, no, YES, no

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

This one time? I wrote a Fuckit list? The whole point was to list the shit I am never going to do, thereby enabling myself to make decisions much more quickly.  Witness:

Emma, would you like to go to Japan without Crockett’s high school swim coach?

No, thank you.

Emma, would you like to see pictures of high school Crockett in his swimsuit?

Why, yes, yes I would. Thank you for asking and send them over toot suite.

Recently I’ve become aware that people who aren’t Michael Ian Black also embrace making decisions by ruling things out.  The two examples I was able to track down again are specifically for fashion, but I did see it elsewhere, I SWEAR.

Last time I went shopping I told my husband that I was so glad I wasn’t skinny because then I would have too many options and would be in the stores forever.

-April Flores

…I wear none of the following: high necklines and turtlenecks; bulky knits; large prints; long skirts; flats; anything floaty, bohemian, or hippie-inspired; anything shapeless, babydoll, straight or Mod; double-breasted coats and jackets; and the colors red, orange, yellow, black and white.

Now, if this list makes it seem like I can’t wear half of what’s out there, well — yeah. That’s kind of my point.

- Sadie from Jezebel, in part of their Dress Code series

Y’all, this is genius. I’m so much more comfortable ruling things out than in, you know? I’m perpetually in a state of de-cluttering – removing clothes from my closet, knicknacks from my shelves, songs from my iPhone, whatever.

As of right now, I’m ruling out:

  • Any recipe with bell peppers in it. I’m allergic and I sometimes try to make peppery recipes pepperfree, but you know what? That’s not how that recipe was developed, and from now on I’m just ruling ‘em out cause they’re not that good anyway.
  • Related: fajitas.
  • Blazers.
  • Thong underwear.
  • Jeans from Old Navy.
  • Clothing with busy patterns. I don’t wear them, they wear me, and no one wins. The clothes WANT to be worn! They do!
  • Buying ingredients without a recipe in mind. Yes, I’ll face an empty refrigerator more often, but is that in fact worse than throwing food away because I had nothing to do with it? No. I daresay it’s better.

These aren’t resolutions, mind you. They’re just things I don’t have to worry about. Is organic cilantro on sale, two bunches for a dollar? Sure, and awesome! I’m not buying it! Are there really cute thongs at Victoria’s Secret with roller skates on them? Of course there are, but they’re not for me!

I love this idea – my only concern is that I sometimes have a tendency to overdo things. There’s a small chance I might go home and throw out everything I’ve ruled out… but I’ll definitely keep those pictures of Crockett in his Speedo.

you lucky bastard

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Yesterday I had brunch with two exceptionally lovely ladies, and we discussed labels.

I love to be labelled. I love to know that I am an ENTP, a high DIS, and that my number one strength is empathy. I love to be able to tell people that I am an ex-engineer, a blogger, and a pastry chef. I embrace the fact that I’m a type b personality and a shopoholic, an iPad owner and a girl geek.

Most of all, though, I love my style statement.

Organic Whimsy.

Doesn’t that just make you want to go run through a field, throwing daisies behind yourself?

Style Statements are the brainchild of two women in CA (although one seems to have moved on from the business).

What is a Style Statement?

  • An opportunity … to take a breath, look at where you are, reassess your priorities, and go forward confidently and distinctively into the life you really want to live
  • An articulation of who you are … two words that serve as a compass for your choices every day and that keep you grounded in the authentic you
  • A decision … to embrace yourself and nurture your unique style and creative edge

What is the 80/20 Style Statement principle?

This is the magic formula that makes your Style Statement a truly useful tool. The first word of your style statement reflects your inner foundation, your 80%. The second word is your creative edge, your 20%—and it’s often this 20% that people don’t nurture. The 80/20 principle’s combination of energy, ideals, and aesthetics is a powerful equation for creating ease and results in your life.

Your Style Statement consultant will help you understand how this magic formula makes your Style Statement a truly useful tool.

You have a two options for finding your style statement – paying $275 to spend 90 minutes on the phone with Carrie, one of the founders, or paying $25 for the book. Obviously, I chose the book – why spend $250 on a conversation when I could spend it on clothes?

The thing is, when I remember this one, it is useful. I rarely have a project where it behooves me to remember that I’m an ENTP. My empathy is a skill I can’t leave behind if I try. But my style statement, particularly in my personal life, leads me to the right choices if I let it.

For example, I am always buying clothes that I feel are appropriate and that look good on me, only to never wear them. After telling the girls about my style statement at brunch, I went through my closet and pulled those clothes out.

They’re definitely not Organic Whimsy clothes. Sometimes, when I’m shopping, I apparently think I’m this girl:

Or possibly this girl:

I’m not those girls, though. I’m the girl who wears this:

Blazers are an excellent go to item for the modern professional woman, which is probably why I continue to buy them. However, blazers are neither organic nor whimsical, and I don’t wear a single one of the six that I own.

It applies to my house, too. It applies to my ability to plan things in advance. It applies to pretty much everything, if I let it.

Gosh I love labels.

Just call me Organic Whimsy.