Archive for the ‘Things that make me happy’ Category

I saw an article relating to happiness in the LA Times. I thought I would share:

A guide to enhancing happiness

September 8, 2008

Count your blessings. Express gratitude for what you have privately and also by conveying appreciation to others.

Cultivate optimism. Keep a journal in which you write your best possible future. Practice seeing the bright side of every situation.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. When you start to dwell on problems or compare yourself to others, distract yourself with positive thoughts or activities.

Practice kindness. Do good things for others.

Nurture relationships. Pick a relationship that needs strengthening, and invest time and energy in it.

Do more activities that truly engage you. Increase the experiences at home or work in which you lose yourself in total absorption.

Replay and savor life’s joys. Pay attention, delight in and review life’s momentary pleasures.

Commit to your goals. Pick one or more significant goals and devote time and effort to pursuing them.

Develop coping strategies. Find and practice healthy ways to manage stress, hardship or trauma.

Forgive. Keep a journal or write a letter in which you let go of anger and resentment toward those who have hurt you.

Practice spirituality. Get more involved in your church, temple or mosque. Read spiritual books.

Take care of your body. Exercise, meditate and laugh.

Source: “The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want,” by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Tips on switching to a positive outlook

September 8, 2008
While working with unhappy clients, psychologist and author Dan Baker draws on the science that shows that half of our happiness is genetic, but as much as 40% is up to us. “That 40% is huge,” says Baker, who is the founding director of the life enhancement program at Canyon Ranch, an upscale spa and resort in Tucson and the author of “What Happy Women Know” (Rodale, 2008), a sequel to his bestselling “What Happy People Know” (St. Martin’s, 2004).

To help clients rewire their unhappy outlook, he offers this three-part prescription. For the next week, do these things daily:

1. Every morning when you wake up, think of someone or something that you have a deep and abiding appreciation for: a former teacher or coach, a neighbor, a parent or friend. Do the same just before lunch. At night, when you get in bed, think of something that occurred that day that you appreciate.

2. Do something for someone else. Call a friend or send her an e-mail. Give a toy to charity.

3. Curb your negative self-talk. When thinking of a forthcoming event, such as the birth of a baby or having the family over for Thanksgiving, don’t focus on the pain or hassles. Focus on the possibilities — and on what’s good and special about the event.

“It only takes a couple minutes each day to eventually build up a new neural network,” Baker says.

Keep up these new behaviors until they turn into habits.

— Marnell Jameson

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The beauties above were almost mine. We went shopping while in the hot desert. I immediately fell in love with them and they were actually 50% off. In the back of my mind I knew I shouldn’t because of the “Gentle Giant’s,” aka I only need and own three pairs of shoes, house rule about shoes: you can buy a pair as long as you get rid of a pair. It all started because my shoes are currently stored in three different closets in the house. I contemplated and in the end I could not think about a pair that I would want to give up….and truth be told, the shoes were a half size big. So I gave them up and went across the store and bought J a few shirts instead.

I still am entitled to day dream about them though!!!! I showed J the picture above and he also agreed that they are pretty!!! 🙂 Men just don’t understand how us women feel about shoes. There is a serious dose of happiness that comes with buying shoes. In theory I could buy a pair of shoes and sneak them into one of the closets. But I am too honest and the guilt would kill me.

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Oh the silliness. About a year ago I was invited by my wonderful friend BPM to join her birthday dinner. I didn’t know anyone else that came besides her and her husband DM. I sat next to her and we were all making small conversation when the last person in our party showed up. There was only one open seat and it happened to be right next to where I was sitting. So throughout the night we all had a great time chatting and I soon came to find out that “Mr. late arriver” is actually an engineer….you can’t seem to escape them in South Bay…and not only that, he had a serious title that followed his name: PhD. Let me begin by saying that I do have a few engineer friends and they all are wonderful and live happily in their “rational” world and God forbid if you disagree with them…so can you imagine my initial judgment of Mr. MH? What could I possibly have in common with him? Man he must be even more stubborn than the rest!!! Little did I know that he is actually different than the rest, VERY different.

We actually became friends! Last summer we went to see a French movie together called “My Best Friend” (Mon Meilleur Ami) and he started the whole “my bestest friend” silliness that still continues to this day. So according to Mr. MH he is my “BESTEST MOST BESTEST friend” and I am “his plus que parfait bestest friend!” Oh how I love the silliness of our friendship!

So Indi and I woke up at crack of down last Saturday as we had a date with Mr. HM at precisely 8:33am. We met up in South Redondo Beach and had a wonderful breakfast at Crème de la Crêpe. I had le japonnaise crêpe which was delicious. Since miss Indi was with us and it was a beautiful day, we sat outside.

Our waiter was super duper nice and attentive to both us humans and miss Indi making sure that her bowl of water was not empty. And best of all, he was not afraid of her. So if you are ever in the South Redondo Beach area you should check this awesome place out.

1708-1/2 S Catalina Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 540-8811

I hope you all have silly fun friends like mine! Je t’adore mon chéri meilleur ami! 🙂

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Yes, indeed, I graced the world on this fine day! My family, as they do every year, had a wonderful party for me this past weekend. We all had a great time and ate lost of yummy food! I am told I am going out to breakfast and I am told there is something going on that involves dinner…. Woohooo!!

End of day epilogue

Today was a wonderful day! J, Indi, and I went out to breakfast to my favorite breakfast place: the Nosh Cafe which was wonderful as usual. I had a bagel with lox and J had the Spanish omlette/quiche:

Then off I went to school for work and class. I bought these fabulously colorful and cheerful cupcakes to share with my classmates:

My wonderful professor Dr. P seemed to enjoy the cupcakes and I could not resist taking a picture of his Dracula looking smile after he ate his first cupcake with the hot pink frosting!!!! Watch out for the crazy colored frosting!!!

My bday gift of choice from J was a homemade dinner. So I skipped my last two classes and came home to find him hard at work making a fantastic Persian meal. How impressive is that??? He said: “A Persian meal for a Persian.” haha!!! 🙂 🙂 Anyway, he made a rice dish from my Persian cookbook New Food of Life. I had actually never had this type of rice before, and to be honest it sounded a little odd to me when I first saw the recipe in the book. I am so glad that J made it because it was delicious. Anyway, it was like a Persian Paella and in the cookbook is it is called “Rice with Shrimp and Herbs.” He also made an herb kookoo, Persian chicken kabab, and two different types of dips, one with yogurt and shallots (mast-o-musir) and the other was a blend of herbs, walnuts, and white cheese. EVERYTHING was so amazing and delicious!

While we had dinner we listened to a CD which I received today as a gift. My wonderful friend Little Red Reading Hood surprised with me with a precious gift: a CD which is compiled with songs that he has written and sings himself in his native language which is Polish. And once the CD came to an end, we listened to it again because it was THAT GOOD! Anyway, more about the CD and Little Red Reading Hood will be shared in a later post as it deserves some attention!

And for dessert J bought some amazing tasting pastries from one of our favorite bakeries. I can’t remember the name of it but it is located on Crenshaw and Sepulveda in the same shopping center as Starbucks.

And last but not least, a picture of Indi. She is not allowed to beg for food while we eat, she can either hang out under the table or take a hike. Since she is such a good girl I shared some of the apples from the sweets with her after we were done eating. She actually loves apples and she is good at balancing a slice on her nose!!! AWWWW!!!

Well another Bday has come and gone and it was a wonderful day.

Thanks J for all the wonderful and loving things that you did today. You are the best prince charming ever and so lovable!!! 🙂

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One of my students my favorite student, the wonderful-awesome-funny-nutty-kind CS, gave me a wonderful gift for Xmas: tickets to see the LA Galaxy on their season opener game against the San Jose Earthquakes. When DB was brought to play with the Galaxy there was, and there still is, such a huge hype about it. I was rather annoyed about all the attention that was given to only one player and left the others, who by the way are wonderful players, in his shadow. To add insult to injury, every time they had their games last fall the area around the stadium, the Home Depot, became so congested and for students who were attending classes during the times that the games were on, it was a nuisance –to put it mildly. How do I know this? Well that’s where I go to school…can you imagine sitting in class listening to a lecture and then all of sudden there is this uproar coming from the west side of the campus? It was beyond annoying.

So anyway, my wonderful student gave me tickets because she and her husband have been going to the Galaxy games for years and she told me that I HAD to see the man in action. So I was excited about going to see a soccer game live because I do love soccer. What made the whole experience even more exciting was the fact that I found out one of my favorite players from back in the days is currently the head coach of the Galaxy. YES!! Rudd Gullit, the man the legend, he who played with my second favorite Italian team AC Milan and was in the same team as my FAVORITE player in the whole wild world Paolo Maldini was here in LA in my school’s stadium. Oh the excitement that I felt about being there, sitting a few rows behind the Galaxy bench and breathing the same air as Gullit.

So the long dreadlocks are gone, the mustache is gone and he totally looks different nowadays. But man was I jolly to be there! The picture is not the greatest, but it makes me giggle every time I look at it. I really hope that he will help make the Galaxy into a kick ass team and take their game to a higher level! I think Landon Donovan is also a very good player and man was it exciting to see him in action! And kudos to the rest of the team as well for winning the game and making the whole experience so exciting. For the record, I lost my voice…it was hard to stay quiet and sit in my seat like the rest around me….hehe 🙂

There is an awesome YouTube video of him which shows what an amazing player he is. It is totally worth watching. Anyway, I can’t finish this post without out sending a shout out to my my favorite boys: Forza Roma my favorite Italian soccer league team and Forza Azzurri world cop champions baby!!!!

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Today marks the thirteenth day of the new year. We did not go on a picnic but we did throw away our sprouts in a stream –or we pretended that we did. I threw the sprouts in the water in a local park, but then took them out just a few yards down the stream as I did not want to pollute the water. It was fun!


The Persian New Year holiday is officially over and as of tomorrow everyone in Iran goes back to work or school.

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Today is the first day of spring which coincides with the first day of the Persian new year. The official time of the transition from winter to spring was last night at 10:48. I made it home from school just in time to sit around and celebrate with J and Indi.

The picture above is my Haft Sin which we are supposed to make where each items is symbolic. Once again, I am lazy so I am going to cut an paste the smart people from Wikipedia who have taken the time to do a nice write up about it.

Haft Sīn (هفت سین) or the seven ‘S’s is a major tradition of Nowruz. The haft sin table includes seven specific items starting with the letter ‘S’ or Sīn (س) in Persian alphabet). The items symbolically correspond to seven creations and holy immortals protecting them. Originally called Haft Shīn, the term was changed to Haft Sīn after the Iranian people adopted Islam, because wine (sharab) was one of the Seven ‘Sh’s, and drinking intoxicants is forbidden in Islam.[citation needed]. The Haft Sin has evolved over time, but has kept its symbolism. Traditionally, families attempt to set as beautiful a Haft Sīn table as they can, as it is not only of traditional and spiritual value, but also noticed by visitors during Nowruzi visitations and is a reflection of their good taste.

The Haft Sīn items are:

  • sabzehwheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
  • samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence
  • senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing love
  • sīrgarlic – symbolizing medicine
  • sībapples – symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaqsumac berries – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkehvinegar – symbolizing age and patience

Other items on the table may include:

Happy New Year to all who celebrate this wonderful day!

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Today is the evening of Chahar Shanbeh Sury. In Iran people gather around bonfires and jump over the flames while reciting a phrase which loosely translated means “give me your red complexion or coloring and take my yellow or sickly coloring.” This is an old ritual which always takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year.

Tonight I created my own version of a bonfire. I came up with my own genius method a few years back when I didn’t have a backyard. A good old candle on the floor of my apartment was given he honor of pretending to be a bonfire. So once again this year I jumped over a candle! J partook in the celebration by jumping over our makeshift fire while reading the phrase from one of my Persian cookbooks which has a description of the whole event. Then he promptly handed me the book and went back to watching his documentary. I am glad that he at least partakes…while he probably thinks to himself “what have I gotten myself into.” 🙂

Wikipedia does a fabulous job of explaining this ritual and because it is late and I am tired I am going to just post the portion that is relevant to today:

The night before the last Wednesday of the year is celebrated by the Iranian people as Chahârshanbe Sûrî Persian: چهارشنبه سوری, (Azerbaijani: Od çərşənbəsi meaning wednesday of fire, Kurdish: Çarşeme surê, چوارشه‌مه‌ سوورێ meaning red wednesday), the Iranian festival of fire. This festival is the celebration of the light (the good) winning over the darkness (the bad); the symbolism behind the rituals are all rooted back to Zoroastrianism.

The tradition includes people going into the streets and alleys to make bonfires, and jump over them while singing the traditional song Zardî-ye man az to, sorkhî-ye to az man; This literally translates to “My yellowness for you, your redness for me,” with the figurative message “My paleness (pain, sickness) for you (the fire), your strength (health) for me.”

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It is St. Patrick’s Day and I must post to honor J’s ancestors. The other day while at TJ I found a cute little pot of Shamrock and bought it for J. I had never seen one up close; it is cute with really pretty white flowers that open during the day and close at night.

We are going to have a couple of our favorite Irish things today such as Guinness and Dubliner cheese. YUMMYY!!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!!!


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I love Spring time, not only because I graced the world on the 20th day of Spring, but because of all the flowers that bloom during this time of the year. I love flowers, even though, I am also very good at killing them. I should also mention that I love it when J gives me flowers!! Hehe 🙂

Our house is filled with a lot of flowers right now. A couple of weeks ago J got me a white daffodil plant that smells heavenly, a little purple violet plant, and a fava bean plant while shopping at the farmers market. How excited was I about all of my little gifts!!!

I also love this time of the year because you can get beautiful small bunches of daffodils at TJs. I usually pick up one or two bunches every time I go until they are out of season. I bought my first couple of bunches this past weekend and they have opened up beautifully. One vase sits on the kitchen window sill above the sink and the other in the living room. Back in the days they used to be $.99 a bunch making them very affordable. To my surprise there has been some serious inflation this year. Generally, one thinks that the price would go up by maybe ten cents or so, but no they went up 30 cents. YES, they are now $1.29, granted, still affordable, but not as good as a deal as before. Now if my salary went up at the same rate as every things else around us….Nevertheless, this is not going to stop me from buying more, especially, when they look sooo beautiful and make me so happy every time I wash dishes.

So Happy Spring to everyone and enjoy all the flowers around us. We should have plenty around here because of all the rain that we have had.

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