To The Person Trying to Find Happiness

 

About a year ago I wrote a blog post about finding happiness. Finding who you are, what makes you smile, laugh and even cry. If you were wondering, I am still searching for my own happiness, but this week has really pushed me to see that it’s not time to give up yet.  I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am and who I want to be; who I want to be tomorrow, in a week and even in the next couple of years.  I know a lot of people go through changes once college starts, or even four years later when you’re a senior ready to graduate.  You might find new friends, find new hobbies, new foods to enjoy, and as the years go by some of those things that changed not too long ago, change again. You find another group of friends you enjoy spending time with, you stop participating in certain activities but take up new ones, and you might even find a new favorite study spot. I’ve been there, trust me. The tricky thing is actually finding out who you are and how you can be happy with yourself throughout this time. You want it all to make sense right away, you want to be happy every day and to always have your life figured out, but over the past year I’ve learned that happiness is something you might be working on your whole life, and that is okay.  I know it’s easier said than done, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t give up on yourself because one day you’ll be able look back and be thankful for what you went through. The hardships, tough times, smiles, tears, and the great times all allow you to find your true self.

I’ve really tried to find those special people in my life who make me laugh and even make me cry, and sometimes it takes a lot out of you. You go through days where you just want to be alone, not talk to anyone and turn your phone off, but sometimes you have those days where you ask the same friend to spend the night 5 days in a row because you just want to have someone there for you. Sometimes it takes heart break, and time off from friends to figure out who is there for you, who will always be your friend through the good times and bad, but eventually it all comes together and you can see how your life might have changed 360 degrees, but you circle back to those people who have always been there for you in the long run. It’s funny to look back on freshman year and think these people have stuck by me for all these years now; and you can turn around today and still see those same people standing behind you.

It took a pretty big moment in my life recently to figure out that I had changed a lot this past year. Not necessarily changed in a bad way, but I wasn’t really moving in the direction I wanted to. I stopped hanging out with my closest friends, put some people first who might not have had my best interest at heart, and decided that being unhappy about the little things in life wasn’t cause for concern. I’m sure many people can relate to this. Sometimes it’s hard to see how unhappy you are with yourself because you are trying so hard to push those memories and moments out of your brain. You want to focus on the good times, those days where you couldn’t stop smiling and laughed until your stomach hurt and you were rolling around on the floor crying. But, one thing I have learned is that it takes strength and determination. You have to be strong to even stand up to yourself and say, “I’m not happy” or start thinking about what you can do to change your mindset and change your ways to become the person you want to be in the future. You have to be determined. Don’t let your own thoughts get in the way of turning the corner, be bold, be confident and be yourself because deep down we all know the person we want to become is somewhere inside of us already.

I know it’s hard sometimes to realize you’re not alone, there are so many people in this world who are behind you and sometimes it’s scary letting them in. Talking about your feelings, the bad day you had, or even why you cried when you watched a dog movie on Facebook, can be a really hard thing to do. Always wanting to figure out everything on your own, waiting forever to ask your friends for help or advice, it’s draining. It took me a long time to realize that I was not alone in this world, even being surrounded by amazing friends and family, it’s easy to keep a lot of things hidden away. But, 21 years later and I finally feel like it’s okay to talk about life, school, work, friends, and just everyday things. So don’t freak out if you are still having trouble letting people in, it took me a long time to understand that talking about your feelings or even just talking about the day you had is so much better than keeping everything to yourself. Learn from your mistakes, share your thoughts, secrets, and memories with people who you care about and who care about you, because you might not realize it, but they could be going through the same things you are just to be happy. Somewhere along the way you’ll realize that the only way for you to find yourself is to find others who will support you and love on you and make you feel like you are worth a million, because you are.

I believe that happiness is a journey. It’s not something that is just achieved, but can be created. This is the time in our lives to accomplish goals, empower ourselves and change who we are. Devote time to the most important things in your life, whatever that may be. It might surprise you how much time you actually spend on these important parts of your life. Believe in who you are, and cut yourself some slack, it’s okay to mess up, to make mistakes and to realize you might be unhappy. Life is about making those mistakes and being able to look back and say, “I’m glad I went through that”.  I am still working on this part myself, sometimes it’s really hard to understand why we have to go through certain heartaches just to see what is ahead. You might lose some people along the way and that’s okay. Remember to surround yourself with joy, happy thoughts, and people who will always be there for you 20 years from now. Take some time to look around and see where you are today, reach out to those people who might have gotten away a few months back, find a new study spot, a new favorite drink at Starbucks or even a new favorite song to listen to on repeat. Learn to love, smile and cry. Remember that your life is a precious and short thing that can be changed in the blink of an eye, so don’t let those small bumps in the road get you down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hungry Hungry Hippo

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I last did a food related post, so here is a yummy one for you! I’m not sure if any of you know this, but I am pretty much in love with this cute little sandwich shop in Fayetteville, Arkansas called the Little Bread Co. If you live near there, passing through or go to school there, like me, make sure to check it out! Anyways, I was having withdrawals after coming home and not having my favorite sandwich shop right around the corner from me and was craving one of their veggie sandwiches. So, instead of wallowing and having to wait until August to eat one again I decided to do a little recreation right here at home!

The sandwich I normally get is called the California Veggie which comes with Avocado, Cucumbers, Sprouts, Herb Cream Cheese (which I don’t get), Tomatoes, and Field Greens all on toasted French Wheat. Now, before you start stressing because you don’t have all of these ingredients, don’t worry this is just a recreation so you can make it however you want!

Im calling this the Hungry Hungry Hippo, which includes Spinach, Bean Sprouts, Tomatoes, Kalamata olives, Relish, Yellow Mustard, Sliced Avocado and two pieces of Oatmeal Rye Bread (vegan). I just piled all of these ingredients onto the bread, not really in any specific order.  I’m sure all of you know how to make a sandwich so go ahead and make this however you please, feel free to add or take away anything you might want and eat up! This sandwich was so good, I am actually pretty proud of how accurately it turned out, and I’ll definitely be making it again soon!

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Thank you Little Bread Company for the inspiration! Enjoy!

Cole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming to a Close

As my sophomore year of college comes to a close, I am sitting here in Starbucks thinking about everything that has happened to me in such a short time. Moving into my first apartment, finding some of my best friends, and even learning not to be afraid of gross bugs. This year has been full of ups and downs, crazy moments and sad moments. Some that I want to leave behind and some I don’t ever want to forget. This was a year of change, for the good and maybe for the bad, but in the end without those experiences I’ve realized that you will never be able to find out who you are and who you want to be down the road.

Over these past 10 months, I’ve seen a lot of things change. Myself, my friends, and even my surroundings. Now, I don’t want anyone to think that when I say things change, it’s automatically negative. Change is good and something that everyone should go through. Actually, its something everyone needs to go through to grow and experience the world. It’s hard to think that the friends you met freshman year won’t be with you four years later when you’re graduating or down the road when you’re getting married, or buying your first house. Or the way you saw yourself a year ago has changed dramatically for many reasons. But, college is where you find yourself, you find those friends who will stick with you through all those crazy moments, and where you might lose some friends along the way. This doesn’t mean you don’t care, or never think about them, or you didn’t like the person you were before; it just means you’re growing up.

Growing up can be one scary process, let me tell you. Paying bills, trying to fix things on your own (trying to fix a shower that won’t drain), learning which bus takes you to class and which ones takes you far, far away from campus. But, one of the most important lessons I have learned this semester is to do things that make you happy. Be with people who make you smile, laugh and even cry (in a good way of course). It’s easy to forget to do things for yourself when you are so concerned with what everyone will think if you, how they will react, or what they are saying behind your back to your other friends. But, things happen, and the best thing for you to do is take a step back. Take a break and do something for yourself that makes you feel special, loved and cared about. Go on a run, paint a canvas, re-start that blog that hasn’t been opened since August. It’s easy to forget about the one person you should always be thinking about, even if it’s just in the back of your mind. Yourself.

When was the last time you asked yourself, are you happy? For me, it had been a while. Choosing happiness seems easy enough, but when you actually sit down and think about whether you are happy or not, it can be complicated. We have those moments of happiness, those times where what we are doing in that moment makes us smile, laugh or think that we are happy. But, each day we are reminded that our happiness is always changing: getting a good grade on an exam, petting a puppy on your way to class, grabbing ice-cream with your friends, or going on a date with someone you care about. If you look down the line to the messy areas of your life, it shows that life is a work in progress, and that’s ok. You should always be finding new goals, new things to smile about, and new people to surround yourself with. Things in your life will change, take that change and make it work for you, run with it. Personally, I don’t want to be the same person I was when I walked onto campus freshman year. Change your goals, your hair, or what you eat. Once you realize that you should also be an important person in your own life, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.

It’s funny how some of these things creep up on us. Or, maybe they were there the whole time and we just didn’t realize it. Whatever the case may be, take that change, take your happiness and run with it. Make it work for you. Be someone you are proud of, someone who can make others smile, laugh and even cry at times. Learn that growing up is a part of life, and understand that when you grow, others are growing right there beside you too.

Sit down. Take a deep breath. Write down some of the things that are truly important to you and make it a priority to devote your time to those things (or people). Don’t skip out on yourself, decide what you want in life, the person you strive to be, and fill your head and heart with good, strong thoughts. Desire those changes in your life that will make a bigger impact than you could ever imagine and remember, don’t be afraid of change.

 

 

 

 

Thankful for Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and I know everyone is so excited (at least I am) to spend some time at home with your family, or just relaxing on the couch for a few days, after a little too much pie. So, here’s to too much food, awkward family members, and everything smelling like pumpkin!

5 ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving break

  1. Forget about your phone

Listen up people. It’s time to take a break from technology, put the phone down, shut the computer down and take a step back. These next few days you get to spend at home or with your family and friends are going to fly by so take it all in and spend as much time with the people you love that you can!

 

  1. See some of your long lost friends from home

While we’re away at different colleges, sometimes it’s difficult to stay in contact with those friends that are at home or in different states. But over the break you’re back home, take time to go see them and catch up on all the latest gossip, memories and stories you’ve missed while being apart! While you’re at it, begin to make new memories.

 

  1. Spend some much needed quality time with your family

Family time is always needed. I think it’s easy to forget how much we really need our family when we’re away from home. Maybe you’re the opposite (like me) and have the luxury of spending loads of phone time, each day, with your mom or sister. Either way, family time is important and that’s what Thanksgiving and holidays are all about. Surrounding yourself with loved ones who make you smile, laugh and occasionally cry.

 

  1. Help make the family Thanksgiving feast!

This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. No matter how your family celebrates, it’s great when you all come together to cook or even just set the table. If you’ve never helped prepare your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, try it out. Even if it might be annoying when your mom tells you exactly how to stir the mashed potatoes (when clearly you’ve learned how to do at least one thing while away at school). Just smile and listen to what she has to say because when its all said and done, I promise there will be a smile on your face just knowing you’ve helped make something so amazing for everyone to share.

 

  1. Watch some {Razorback} football!

Now, I might be biased because I go to the best school in the SEC but you cannot have a Thanksgiving break without football. So get ready, sit back, and CALL THOSE HOGS!

 

Always, Cole

 

Finding Happiness

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So, as you can probably tell from the title, this post has nothing to do with food or healthy recipes.  I know this might not be something I normally write about on my blog, but I’ve been really thinking about it for a while now, and just wanted to share my thoughts with all of you.

I feel like once you leave for college your life kind of takes a wild turn. Not in a bad way, but you seem to uncover and experience so many new things all at once and it can be overwhelming at times. As a sophomore now, I know that being in college constantly has you on your toes and under a lot of pressure and added stress. Because of this, I think that we forget to take time for ourselves, and forget how important it is to learn about yourself, love yourself, and find your own happiness in life.

About a year ago, during my freshman year of college, I really struggled with self-love. I kind of felt lost, unsure as to why I really didn’t feel like myself anymore. I know I always seemed like the bubbly, happy person on the outside, but for some reason I just wasn’t really that happy with myself on the inside. I don’t know if a lot of people, or anyone, noticed but I feel like it turned me into someone I didn’t want to be, someone who was just going through my day, and wasn’t truly happy with themself. Since then I’ve made a vow to myself that I would set aside time to learn more about myself and the things that I love, the things that make me happy.

One of the most important things I’ve learned so far is to stop the negative thoughts. Don’t let the thoughts or comments of others define who you are. If you are worried about what others think of you all the time, or let yourself think negative thoughts then you’re just going to bring yourself down. No one can decide who you are, or who you want to be, except you. You have the power to say what you want to say, show everyone who you are inside and out. I know sometimes it can be hard not to worry about what other think of you, but if you just take the time to let that all go, you’ll see how much you can thrive!

My mom always talks about inner beauty. She reminds me each and every day that beauty comes from within, and when we are keeping things hidden inside, stressing about every little thing or just holding in bad energy, it shows on the outside (hello pimples). At first I wasn’t really sure if I believed her, because lets be honest, moms will always tell you that you’re beautiful (thanks mom for always telling me) and to be completely honest, I didn’t used to think this was a big deal. Trust me, it is. I have learned so much over the past year about myself, and how to look at myself in the mirror and just think wow, I am a great person, and I’m cute, funny, and full of energy.  Once I stopped being “mean” to myself and believing that I am beautiful, I am powerful and I am a one of a kind person, I really do think it started showing on the outside. I’ve started to live life differently, love who I am, and be proud of the person I am becoming. These things have given me confidence in myself, and helped me to be proud of the person I am becoming each and every day.

Surround yourself with good energy. Be around people who make you laugh, who make you smile and who love you unconditionally. When you start hanging around with people who truly care about you, you’ll see how much happier you actually are. I feel like after freshman year I made a lot of “friendship cuts” if that makes any sense. I tried to stop surrounding myself with people who were constantly bringing me down, who didn’t really care about me; it changed the way I saw myself in a big way. Being with people who make me laugh so hard I cry, or smile so much that my mouth hurts has changed the way I see myself, and made me love who I am in a whole new way.

Something that I have been working on for a while now is to just grow. Grow as a person, grow in life and grow with your heart. Be willing to meet new people, be open to discovering new things in life that you’ve never tried before. Open your heart. I know this is so scary, and trust me when I say I’m probably not the best person to be saying this because its something I am still working on myself. But, over the past few months I have really tried to open my heart to new people, my family and my best friends, just sharing thing with them things that I would normally keep to myself, and I think it’s really working. My sophomore year has been great so far; I feel like I have found my place here at school, being away from my family and my best friend (my beautiful sister) but it has made me stronger and I have learned to love myself for who I am, flaws and all.

I do not believe that happiness is something that comes right away. I think everyone struggles sometimes with understanding why certain things happen or why people say or do things that are hurtful or uncalled for. But, that’s life and sometimes all you need to really do is step back, try new things, reevaluate who you are hanging out with, and love yourself unconditionally.

Believe in who you are, strive to become a better person each and everyday, and take the time to do things that make you feel happy, loved and beautiful. You will find happiness, even if it takes a little while longer, I promise, it’s worth it.

I hope this post was helpful for some of you, and thanks for letting me write a little something different today.

Always, Cole

Fayetteville and Food Trucks

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Hey guys, I’m back! Sorry for the long break from blogging, I have so busy with school and sorority activities that it has been hard for me to get a blog post up. I hope everyone had a fantastic fall break and Halloween! Don’t forget our clocks went back yesterday, so make sure to turn your clocks back and take advantage of that extra hour of sleep!

A few weeks ago my friends and I went to the food trucks that are right by our house here in Fayetteville, and we had such a blast! It was great to see all of the trucks lined up all with different kinds of foods; soups, sandwiches, tacos, even cupcakes and treats!

Check around in your area if there are any  that you can go to because they are such a great time and its so fun to experience food in a different way! Ask around if you’ve never been before and make sure to read up on any reviews that may be posted online because sometimes there are multiple places in one city that have food trucks, and some may be better than others.

When I came with my friends I decided to try out the Kona Coast and let me tell you, it was amazing! I looked at the menu and finally decided on the grilled veggie tacos with some salsa! It was actually a good sized meal, 2 full sized tacos with some tortilla chips and some salsa on the side.

Here is a little clip of what I got!

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I wanted to share with you guys something fun that you and your family or friends could do on a weekend, or try out when you’re deciding what to eat for the day. Food trucks are great because they offer so much variety of food all in one enclosed area. Don’t miss an opportunity to try some new lunch options or even desserts!

If you’re in the Fayetteville area, here are some great food trucks that we have to offer right off college st. or Dickson st.

Natural State Sandwiches

Burton’s Comfort Creamery (ice-cream)

Nomad’s Natural Plate (Mediterranean)

Kona Coast (taco/meat/seafood)

Greenhouse Grille Food Cart (vegetarian)

Green Goat (cuban and dessert cafe)

Chunky Dunk: Milk and Cookies

Here are just a few pictures from my latest trip to the food trucks, I hope you all have an amazing weekend, let me know if you find any food trucks by you!

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I hope everyone has a great rest of your weekend. Try out the food trucks and let me know how it goes!

 

Always, Cole

Raw Raw Rawnola

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I know that I have made a recipe like this before, but I changed it up a little.  I am so excited to bring you the new and improved rawnola! So, for anyone who doesn’t know what rawnola means, basically it is a granola that is made from just raw ingredients; nothing cooked, canned or processed.

This week I am really focusing on eating more raw foods, I have been feeling a little under the weather lately and I think that by cutting out the amount of canned foods and cooked meals I am having will really help!

This rawnola is made with only 3 ingredients: dates, rolled oats, and buckwheat groats! It’s so easy, and is free of nuts, soy, gluten, and refined sugar.

Prep time: 5 minitues

Ingredients: 

  1. 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats (not quick cooking because they are smaller)
  2. 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  3. 8-10 pitted midjool dates

Instructions: 

  1. If your dates are not pitted, go ahead and take the pits out
  2. place the oats, dates and groats in your food processor or blender
  3. pulse slowly until everything is combined

Try not to blend these up too much at one time because your oats might become very shredded and small. If using a blender or food processor just pulse, pulse, pulse then stir the ingredients and pulse again until it is to your liking.

I really hope you all like this recipe! You can put your rawnola on oatmeal, smoothies, or just eat it out of the jar! Enjoy!

Always, Cole