Sunday, February 18, 2018

Making Me Happy This Week–2/18/2018

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Although lots of things happened this week that were obviously not happy, or rather sad and frustrating, I choose to still make this list.  Because even amongst sad things in the news and frustrating things in our lives, it’s still worth remembering all the little things that give us joy.  I’ve been making this weekly list for a couple of years now, in my paper notebook.  This year I’ve decided to share my list on the blog.  I hope that it inspires you to make your own happy lists.

Here’s what’s making me happy this week:

  • My “tower of pens” on the shelf on my desk (photo above).  I cleaned up my home office and my desk, and rearranged some stuff on my desk for workflow and process improvement, and now I can see my pens on the shelf.  The clear organizers are these from Amazon.  They come with clamps so you can clamp them together and they don’t fall over. 
  • Kristin Ess hair products from Target.  They smell great and work really well.  I have the shampoo, conditioner, dry texture spray, and the rose gold spray color.
  • Queer Eye reboot on Netflix.  I watched the original Fab 5, and I love the new Fab 5.  The episodes make me cry, because they don’t just makeover the man’s outsides.  They really care about the person and make the men feel worthy and worthy to be loved.  It’s actually quite emotional.  And apparently I am not the only one who cries while watching.20180218-2018-02-18 06.52.28_blog
  • Matty M blazers from Costco for $19.99!  I found these blazers online at and they are exact dupes of the Caslon knit blazers that I got from Nordstrom for 3x the price!  I loooooove wearing them to work, because they look sharp like blazers, but they actually feel like sweatshirts, they are so comfy!  I usually wear M on top, but got a size S in both the Nordstrom and the Costco blazers.  They run big.  The black and gray ones are Matty M, while the olive and the navy ones are Caslon.20180214-2018-02-14 12.18.01_blog20180218_blazers
  • Finishing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book (#4).  Wow, Harry & his friends are maturing into young adults!  This book had a ton of character development and dealt with a little more mature themes than in the previous books.  I enjoyed it a lot!  We watched the movie last night and I really enjoyed all the boys’ moppy long hair.  I can’t remember if that’s how teenage boys had their hair back in 2005?? 
  • Noodle snuggling on Todd.20180213-2018-02-13 19.29.39_blog
  • Todd going to Taqueria Revolucion in San Ysidro.  Todd applied for Global Entry and had his interview scheduled this past Wednesday.  He had to drive all the way to their office at the last US exit before the Mexico border.  I told him he should Yelp and find a good Mexican place down there to eat lunch, so he decided on Taqueria Revolucion.  He also got some churros from Churros El Tigre!20180214-2018-02-14 11.42.58_blog20180214-2018-02-14 12.08.58_blog
  • Jazz concert the library.  Todd was very excited to see this band that we saw at the San Diego Jazz Festival a few years ago.  We got there a couple of minutes late and it was completely PACKED!  We had to stand in the back, there were no seats left.  And as you can also see, we were the youngest people there, even though we are NOT young!  Todd’s musical taste has us being the youngest at concerts still, ha ha.20180214-2018-02-14 18.29.56_blog
  • Todd finally meeting up with his friend Ryan, after not seeing him for years.  They kept making plans but it just hadn’t worked out.20180216-2018-02-16 14.55.27_blog
  • Noodle lying in the sun, sunning his belly.20180217-2018-02-17 08.55.16_blog
  • Chinese New Year lunch with work and ex-work friends at the Chinese buffet.  I haven’t seen some of these people in a couple of years.  So good to catch up!  Some of them have retired and I got to hear their retired life and be inspired.  Not that I need any more inspiration!  I got a taste of it during my 10 week leave of absence last year and I cannot wait to retire!20180217-2018-02-17 09.11.55_blog
  • Valentines gifts from my girl friends at work.  They made me feel special.  I am so fortunate to have friends at work!20180217-2018-02-17 09.13.09_blog
  • Todd finishing his birthday puzzle, with some “help” from Noodle.  I got Todd two puzzles for his birthday, but it turns out he already has one of them.  So he played the other one this week.  He LOVES puzzles.20180216-2018-02-16 16.46.33_blog
  • Taco salad at Mendocino Farms.  We had this yesterday and we BOTH thought it was SO good!  The funny thing is, we didn’t even know it was vegan until I found the link to it this morning for the blog post.  I thought it was real meat.  Even the dressing was vegan, and it was delicious.20180217-2018-02-17 12.27.34_blog
  • This guy draws new heads to put on people he sees on his commute.  It’s hilarious! 
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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Making Me Happy This Week–2/11/2018

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Thanks for your comments on last week’s post!  I will share my thoughts on weight loss and what’s working for me… but in a few weeks.  I’ve only been at it for about 5-6 weeks.  I want to give it some time to see how it’s working.

Here is what’s making me happy this week:

  • Todd putting 80’s music Pandora station on our big stereo in the family room.  And me singing along to songs.
  • Hot chocolate date + Victoria on PBS Masterpiece.
  • Self checkout at Target using the Target app + Cartwheel + Wallet all in one.  One scan and I’ve gotten my discounts AND paid!
  • Early morning shopping to avoid the crowds.
  • Sharing my Cadbury chocolate from India with my Pakistani friend at work.20180205-2018-02-05 08.59.38_blog
  • Celebrating Todd’s birthday at URBN Pizza and Extraordinary Desserts.  Same as last year, but he likes what he likes!20180205-2018-02-05 18.58.38_blog20180205-2018-02-05 19.53.06_blog
  • Noodle using the new catbed that my sister Joyce gave him for Christmas.  It takes him a while to accept new things, LOL.20180207-2018-02-07 16.58.02_blog
  • Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Boston Celtics.  And Ohio State Buckeyes beating Purdue.20180207-2018-02-07 19.51.19_blog
  • Day date on Saturday.  Lunch at Mastiff at Liberty Public Market, Moo Time ice cream, and then Dirty Dancing at the Civic Theater.20180210-2018-02-10 13.09.31_blog20180210-2018-02-10 13.26.29_blog20180210-2018-02-10 16.35.15_blog
  • Noodle snuggling on Todd.  Always.20180206-2018-02-06 20.20.46_blog
  • Our annual electricity true-up bill with SDG&E.  We don’t owe them any money.  Because we went solar a year ago!
  • Walking outside at Lake Miramar.  We love our “walk and talks” outside!  It’s time that we get to spend outside getting fresh air and unplugging and really talk to each other.20180211-2018-02-11 13.38.48_blog
  • Putting Me Together (Audrey Tom)’s new series “Spring Style Profiles” on her blog.  So good!
  • Bringing lunch to our dear friends AJ & Meera’s house and catching up.20180204-2018-02-04 14.08.48_blog
  • Our CEO showing up to our Q4 earnings announcement wearing jeans and pink sneakers.  AND announcing that we are receiving 111% of our annual bonus!
  • Work.  This is such a shock.  Before I went on my leave of absence last year, I would have never said that work is making me happy.
  • FLOW – this is my word for 2018.  Instead of always fighting against something, I’m going with the flow.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t fight against wrong or injustice.  It just means when things are not that important, I just don’t worry about it.  My default personality is pre-worry, then actually worry, then analyze the worriness post-worry.  Some things just aren’t worth worrying about.
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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Making Me Happy This Week–2/4/2018


One thing that I’ve been doing for a couple of years in my paper notebook is making a sort-of-weekly list of things that are “Making Me Happy This Week”.  I thought I would start sharing them here on the blog, because we could all use some reminder of what makes us happy.  Maybe it will inspire you to make your own list regularly. 

Here’s what’s been making me happy this week.

  • Packing up more stuff and donating them to charity.
  • Super warm weather and lots of sunshine and blue skies.  (See first photo – my view walking in to work.)  I’ve been wearing spring and summer clothes!
  • Trying out a new Thai restaurant nearby.  It’s spicy but flavorful and good!20180128-2018-01-28 12.49.15_blog
  • My new 90’s retro stretchy platform sandals.  Remember these???  The 90’s called, and it wants its stretchy platform slides back! Got these on clearance at Target.20180204_shoes
  • Dressing slightly up for work.  I felt great and confident!20180204_outfits
  • Inadvertent good hair days.
  • Losing weight without calorie-counting.  Since 2014 I’ve tried to lose weight by doing Weight Watchers or tracking food/calories in My Fitness Pal.  None of it really worked.  If I had to guess why it didn’t work for me is that tracking food felt like a diet and unsustainable for me.  If this is a topic that you would like me to elaborate/discuss further in a separate blog post, let me know in the comments.  (No, I am most definitely not selling anything to you.  Just if you would like to hear my thoughts on this.)
  • Todd volunteering at Ronald McDonald House.  He cooked and served breakfast there, along with his Toastmasters teammates.  (He was on egg duty and he HATES the smell of eggs!)20180202-2018-02-02 07.41.29_blog
  • Todd making his famous brown sugar cookies for the Scala programming class that he taught at work.  I didn’t get a photo of the cookies, but they are delicious, and everyone loved them.  If you know Todd well, then you know that one of the things that gives him the biggest satisfaction is to coin him an "expert" in an area. In January he launched a Scala programming class at his work, doing it for free at lunch time. It was at the request of the other programmers at work. He had "tutoring sessions" at lunch, where people could ask for help. I'm not there, but I imagine him as a professor doing "office hours" to help students. It's SO him. And I'm so proud of him, and I know he loves it too.
  • Training Noodle to walk outside on a leash.  He only lasted a minute and wanted to dart back inside, but it was a first step, ha ha.20180203-2018-02-03 11.20.03_blog
  • Me kicking a$$ at work this week.  On Thursday morning I was asked to present/review the 2018 budget ($66M) in detail on Friday morning to the Senior Vice President (officer of the company) of our division and his leadership team.  Not only that, but my finance VP wanted to meet with me Thursday in short notice to go over everything before I presented it on Friday morning.  I nailed it in both meetings.  The “old me” prior to my leave of absence last year would have been so nervous and stressed out to do this on such short notice.  The “new me” didn’t even get stressed.  I knew that I know the numbers like the back of my hand, and that I was the expert in the room despite being the only woman and being the least senior person.  I was not scared and I simply kicked a$$.  It was a defining moment in my career. 
  • Relatedly… my new work mindset is making me so happy and satisfied.  My 10 week leave of absence from work was the BEST thing I’ve ever done for my career.  I got so much clarity from it.  I also formed a new mindset and framework about the role of work in my life.  It really prepared me for the changes to come at work that I didn’t even know about at the time.  I’m so grateful that I was able to take the time off.
  • Still not buying things (unless replacing broken things) until we’ve purged and organized and can get a good handle on all that we already have.
  • Following organization accounts on Instagram for inspiration.
  • This article:  Defining Yourself by What You Love, not what you dislike.  Absolutely resonated with me. 
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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Making Me Happy This Week–1/28/2018

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^What it looks like when I take 10 minute walking breaks outside my building at work, in the courtyard.  It makes me happy.

One thing that I’ve been doing for a couple of years in my paper notebook is making a sort-of-weekly list of things that are “Making Me Happy This Week”.  I thought I would start sharing them here on the blog, because we could all use some reminder of what makes us happy.  Maybe it will inspire you to make your own list regularly. 

Here’s what’s been making me happy this week.

  • Monday day off – it was my first day off in 2018.  I went to Target and Burger Lounge by myself and it was glorious!  (No, I don’t mind eating by myself at a restaurant at all!)20180122-2018-01-22 13.50.58_blog
  • Using the Matsumoto Shave Ice shopping bag that my friend Patsy gave me.  For those not in California, we have a law that you either have to bring your own shopping bags to grocery/retail stores, or you get charged 5 cents per bag.  We’ve actually been bringing our own reusable bags for years, but the law went into effect about a year ago.20180122-2018-01-22 11.35.33_blog
  • Giving Todd the clip-on fan for his too-warm new workspace at work, and him loving it.
  • Restaurant Week dinner on Tuesday night at Avant in Rancho Bernardo Inn.  My lobster dish was so good!20180123-2018-01-23 18.49.01_blog
  • Organizing the pantry and snack cabinet.  Read the full post about it here.20180127-2018-01-27 14.39.52_blog
  • My new letterboard that I bought from Target for $15.  I used these 3M command hooks to hang it up against a cabinet in my home office.20180124-2018-01-24 10.24.40_blog
  • This Glade wax warmer I got from Target.  I have leftover scented wax melts and now I can use this in another room!20180127-2018-01-27 08.55.34_blog
  • Getting an unexpected handmade card from an awesome friend, with heartfelt words.  What could be better?  Nothing.20180124-2018-01-24 16.16.05_blog
  • Cozy scenes at home, like this one.20180124-2018-01-24 20.16.47_blog
  • Watching Victoria season 1 on Amazon Prime streaming (PBS Masterpiece).
  • My new rechargeable clip-on light for reading in my recliner!  We have canned ceiling lights in the family room, but there isn’t a canned light located above my recliner.  This clip on light solves the problem when I want to read a physical book or magazine rather than my Kindle.  (And oh yea, using a Raskog cart as a side table is AWESOME.  I put my remotes, drink, ipad, laptop, coloring books, pens, notebooks, etc. in there.)20180127-2018-01-27 08.58.32_blog
  • Todd’s new over-the-door hook for his backpack on the office door.  He had been just laying it on the floor and this is much better!20180127-2018-01-27 15.54.18_blog
  • Noodle loving the pot roast that Todd made and begging for more, ha ha.  (We only gave him a taste.)
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Organized Pantry

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We have very limited pantry space in our kitchen.  The way our kitchen is laid out, there just isn’t a closet for pantry.  Instead, we only have a wall of shelves on the side of the kitchen.  In the past, we didn’t use the pantry shelves efficiently, because there wasn’t enough shelves to really store what we wanted to store.  So everything was sort of haphazardly strewn, and stacked on top of each other.  We decided to finally really remedy the situation with more wire shelving, and dry goods storage. 

I forgot to take the “before” photos, so you’ll just have to imagine what it would be like without the additional white wire shelving and containers.

I saw on Clean Mama’s blog that she used mason jars with white screw-on lids to store some of her dry goods.  I thought that was a really great idea, because we had been hoarding mason jars for various purposes and have a BUNCH of them in the cupboards in the laundry room.  I took them all out and was chargrined to see how many jars we have!

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For convenience’s sake, we went and purchased some regular and wide mouth white screw-on caps for the mason jars.  Then we went to work on the dry goods and used my label maker to label each jar.

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These mason jars, combined with the Oxo airtight containers that we had previous purchased, have helped make our pantry a lot more organized!  We did also have the problem of things stacking haphazardly on top of one another.  So we purchased some white wire shelving (one tier, and two tier) to make everything look more neat when stacked.  It also made the small space way more efficient.

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Our last pantry problem to solve was our huge deep snack cabinet that was built into our kitchen peninsula.  It was just really deep shelves in disarray.  So I purchased some clear bins that are 14.5” long so that they were almost as deep as the cabinets.  Now I can pull all my teas and Keurig k-cups out and see what I have, pick one, and put them back without a hassle.  I’m all about products and processes that make life easier or save time! 

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This year we are decluttering and re-organizing our house one little project at a time, mostly on the weekends.  Some of these small changes have really made a big difference in our satisfaction with our space.  Ever have something that you use everyday that annoys you?  To me, that kind of annoyance can start to permeate your life and actually make you feel worse.  So why not think of your processes and come up with solutions to finally solve those small annoyances that can get you down?  These solutions make me happy!

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