Did You Know: It’s OK to Be Happy

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Are you a driven go-getter, a self-motivated individual who is always ready for the next challenge? Do you follow productivity icons like Jasmine Star and Gary Vaynerchuk whose daily messages are HUSTLE, GRIND, RINSE, REPEAT? Are you getting excited because you’re reading this like a job posting? Then this message is for you.

Daily, you and I are bombarded with messages inciting us to want more. Take a look at the apps on your phone. How many of them help us compare our jobs, productivity, relationships, lifestyle, bodies, etc. with that of our peers? Maybe we can count those apps on our fingers, but can we count how much time they take up in our day or how much space its effects take up in our minds and hearts?

Because there is already so much content towards inciting the hustle and because you already agreed you are a self-motivated individual, I wanted to tell you something new. Bear with me because it goes against other voices out there. Ready?

It’s enough. It’s okay to stop. It’s okay to be content right where you are. It’s okay to be happy now.

Our society has somehow twisted our perspective. We brag about stress and sleepless nights, trying to outdo each other with tales of how busy we are. If you don’t have anxiety, are you really trying hard enough? Doing enough? If you’ve never fought depression, are you really pushing yourself?

“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” – Brené Brown

Maybe you don’t have the job you or your family always dreamed you would, but does what you’re doing right now give you fulfillment and peace? Does it give you time for play and self-care? Then it’s enough.

Maybe your family doesn’t look like what you thought it would by now, but are you surrounded by people who support and love you? Then it’s enough.

Maybe you haven’t traveled or aren’t as worldly as others seem, but do you know all the best things to do and order at the hidden gems in your own town? Then it’s enough.

Maybe your body doesn’t look a certain way, but can it move, heal, and give you the pleasure of seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling…thinking? Then it’s enough.

Let enough be enough. We need to allow ourselves contentment and not attach to it the ill connotations associated with “settling”. We cannot get so caught up in the pursuit of happiness that we never allow ourselves to arrive at the destination. Happiness is now! It’s today or never.

Take a deep breath and firmly believe: What I am doing right now is enough. I can allow myself happiness.

It is enough to work part-time or to have a side hustle in addition to your 9-5. It is enough to have many friends or only a few. It is enough to travel or to stay in. It is enough to create content, and it’s enough to consume it.

Smile and affirm: What I am doing right now is enough. I can allow myself happiness.

It’s okay to have found your calling by 18. It’s okay to not have found it by 50. It’s okay to be getting that post-grad, and it’s okay to be getting your GED. It’s okay to be single, to be happily married and child-free, or to be planning for baby number x.

Do not stifle the happiness created now with comparisons to what others are doing or to what a different you could be doing.

Think about it: now is all we have. Let’s spend it happy.

Location, Location, Location

To start off a few posts on our recent holiday, I will begin with a bit about the technicalities of the trip. For example, where we stayed.

Our main resource for finding a hotel was Expedia. We didn’t look into hostels. We did look into Airbnb’s, but, mostly because of personal preference, it just wasn’t meant to be for this trip.

On Expedia, Vini found Euro Hotel in Clapham (a district of London). The price was right, the location excellent, and it had free cancellation just in case.

A bit about Euro Hotel Clapham

It’s very simple. Don’t expect luxury, king-sized beds, plush towels, a range of channels, or complementary anything. It’s a clean room to sleep in and come back to. It’s a warm shower after a day of walking. Our room was very well-lit, which is different from most dimly lit hotels, and very colorful! 

Recent reviews complain about the size of the rooms or about hearing other guests. It truly is small (the bed filled the room), but it was honestly comfortable enough. It’s true, you can hear others coming in or going out, but not enough to bother. If hearing people going into or out of their rooms bothers you, you didn’t walk/see/do enough that day. Go back out and only come back when you’re wiped!

The staff were accommodating and nice. And of course, the best part gives sense to the title of this post. The hotel is, at most, 5 minutes away from the underground (train/subway/metro/tube?). There are 3 Clapham stations: Clapham North, South, or Common. Get off at Clapham North, and you’re almost at the hotel. It’s also 5 minutes in the same direction away from a Tesco (groceries!).

Right in front of the hotel is a large park–Clapham Common. Go to Tesco the night before for some scones and some strawberry jelly (if you get the store brand, the full jar of strawberry jam is £0.28!). Cross the street the next morning and sit on a bench in front of the pond and have your breakfast. Just beware of the very hungry water fowl. 

Clapham has it’s own little center with shops, restaurants, pubs, etc. just a 10 minute walk away.  It’s a very central location without the cost of staying smack dab in the middle of London proper. 

I definitely recommend it if you’re traveling solo or with a partner and looking for a place to leave your things, shower, and sleep. I don’t know what they offer in terms of larger bedrooms so I wouldn’t recommend it for families. 

A bit about Hótel Vellir

Again through Expedia, Vini found a hotel in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland. It was 15km from the airport and on the way to our day trips outside of Rejkjavik. 

Hotel Vellir was much more spacious than our London Hotel. The room and bathroom were relatively large, wifi, breakfast, and parking were all included. And boy did we get a good sleep. Icelandic beds are crazy comfortable. I still think about that bed sometimes. 

The hotel is also close to a Bónus (groceries!). Bónus stores are discount grocery stores, and you can find your basics there. However, they close crazy early. Never fear, there’s usually a Kronan nearby. It’s Bónus’ fancier cousin and is open ’til 9pm. (But, of course, check times before you go.)

There were two things that were advertised on our flight and we ended up falling prey to once we arrived: Icelandic yogurt: isey, and Egils’ Malt & Appelsín.

BUY THE YOGURT! Buy the apple one. Yes. Apple. I don’t want to overhype it, but I must say it blew.my.mind. We had it every day, and I am incredibly sad we don’t have it here. The Malt & Appelsín is a drink: malt and orange soda. I don’t know. It just really works. 

For those of you heading out to Iceland or London in the near future, I hope this helps some! Any more details/help I can offer, let me know!

More on transportation next time. Thanks for reading along and for the questions! It really helps me know what to write next. Keep them coming!

Savory Waffles – A Recipe

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I don’t think I’ve ever received so many requests for a recipe I posted on Instagram like I did for this one! You guys are smart. This recipe is so easy, fast, uses up a single bowl, is naturally gluten-free and vegan! and is just all around the best.

The batter recipe is really just a base. Experiment with it. Go crazy with the add-ins and toppings. Live your truth with these waffles. Inject them with happiness. Top them with joy.

Here you go: Continue reading

Thanksgiving – 2018

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Thanksgiving weekend almost caught me by surprise this year. There has been so much going on I kept thinking it was still weeks away until suddenly, it wasn’t. I’m sharing our menu for this year’s dinner this morning, then I’m off to mom and dad’s so we can spend the day together and cook for tonight.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s really worth taking the time to celebrate it, be it with friends, family, or even on your own. It’s more than the dinner and the orange-hued decorations. Continue reading

#thegirltravels – Chicago

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Many months ago when we first bought our plane tickets to Brazil after two years sans far away travel, we were stoked to book a ticket that gave us a day in Chicago on the way back.

“Oh! What a great chance to leave the airport and roam around Chicago!”

But after over a month away from home, miles and miles of road trips, a 10-hour flight behind us, and a 5-hour flight ahead, ten hours in Chicago didn’t sound as appealing anymore. To top it off, I was finally succumbing to the cold that had been following me around. Time to get sick and be over with it.

But there weren’t any earlier flights to Vancouver from Chicago. So we checked our bags, compressed our carry-ons, I swallowed some cold medicine, and we took the train from O’Hare to downtown.

That day ended up being a complete Continue reading