I Thought My Marriage Was Perfect. Until I Read This…

I remember one night, about a year ago, when I was suddenly awoken by the sound of a drunken couple fighting on the street outside my home in Sydney. It was around 3am, and they were clearly unaware that their fighting was waking up the entire neighbourhood. Or perhaps they just didn’t care.

From what I could ascertain between loud shouts (the boy) and hysterical cries of forgiveness (the girl) they had had a fight because she appeared to be flirting with some random, and her boyfriend was jealous. As he stormed up the street, leaving her all alone and saying it was over, she wailed after him that he never made her feel loved, that she wasn’t flirting with anyone, and that she was sorry. Then, I think she passed out from either too much alcohol, or a broken heart!

As I lay there in bed with my boyfriend (now husband), I snuggled in tight thinking how lucky I was to have a man who never made me feel unloved. Who never made me feel insecure. And who never made me question his love for me. I felt like screaming out to that poor girl, as she hopelessly waited for her boyfriend to return, that he wasn’t the right man for her. I imagined sticking my head out the window and shouting ‘Stay Strong! You’ll meet Mr. Right, you just have to lose Mr. Wrong first, and when you do, that deep hollow in your heart will never return. I promise.”

I still think about that poor girl and the importance of feeling loved on a daily basis. Sure, you’re going to fight with your partner from time to time, but it’s those little acts of kindness and respect for one another that keep that fire burning through the tough times and the good times, too.

For example, my husband has made me tea and breakfast every single morning for the past 2.5 years. EVERY MORNING. He’s never missed one. I never asked for this service, he took it upon himself the first time he stayed the night at my place, and it’s been one of his many little gestures of love to me ever since. Even if I’m standing over the tea pot and he’s sitting down, and I try to pour it myself, he insists that I sit down so he can bring it to me. Bless him!

I never really understood why Alex was so sweet like that. Why he was always making me breakfast, and lunch, and cuddling me, and taking the time to sit and listen to me about my day without any interruptions. I thought he was some kind of angel, some rare form of male who was so bloody nice he made me look like an evil troll. I still believe that, he is my divine husband after all, but I have come to learn so much about these small acts of ‘showing love’  since coming into contact with this insanely insightful book…

We were given this book by some friends of ours as a wedding gift. They’ve been married 5 years and credit their insane bond to this book (among other things, of course). They eagerly handed it to us with a guide to read it, and then store it for later, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Read it together, patiently waiting for each other to finish the page, and then eagerly turning it over to learn more. It’s very addictive.

Basically, the book talks about the 5 languages of love. That is, Acts of Service (making your partner tea); Words of Affirmation (telling your partner they look pretty); Quality Time (playing a game of tennis together); Physical Touch (hugging, back stroking, holding hands); and Gifts (self explanatory).

Essentially, everyone speaks a different love language, and the book hypothesises that if you learn to speak your partner’s primary love language, you are destined to a life of marital bliss. Funnily enough, I honestly believe this to be true. All of Alex’s little acts of love speak my love language, and that’s why I’ve never questioned his love for me. He says he feels the same way, and that’s because I know his love language, and make an effort to make him feel loved on a daily basis, too. It works both ways, of course.

But perhaps you and your partner are not feeling quite so in-sync? Perhaps you need more quality time, and he needs more acts of service, and despite loving each other immensely, it’s getting lost in translation somewhere. I know this has happened to me in the past, I was crying out for quality time in my first long term relationship, and not getting it. As a result, the relationship died.

The moral of the story is this, Happies. READ THIS BOOK! Honestly. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a new relationship, just married, been married for 30 years, or not even in a relationship. Everyone can gain some much-needed life lessons from this book. And even if your marriage seems perfect, you can never have too much love. That’s how I feel anyway.

Stay Happy,
Yaz xx

5 Ideas To Beat The Lunchtime ‘Blahs’

Let’s pretend, just for a second, that the lunchbox sitting in the communal fridge at work filled with the tastiest morsels of healthy, nutritious, incredibly delectable flavourbombs belongs to you. Wouldn’t that just be awesome? Aha, it sure would.

Now, let’s make that dream a reality. Because let’s face it, there’s few things more rewarding than knowing that you’ve totally smashed it on the lunch front, and experiencing that eager anticipation of actually getting to eat it in only a few hours. YESSS!

The other day I talked about cooking ahead, and how this can really help you in your plight to becoming the next Top Lunch Chef. It’s such a simple way to ensure you’ve got all the goodies ready to go – plus – if you prepare it the night before as was suggested in the comments (great tip by the way), you can go to town with exploring new recipes.

But what to prepare? That is the eternal question. Here are some ideas.

1. Raw Meal Monday Supergreen Salad

As it is, after all, Raw Meal Monday, I thought I’d kick the inspiration off with this insanely delicious salad that ticks all the right boxes. It’s raw, rammed with micronutrients, and so insanely tasty you may just never want it to end. It’s a super salad – and one that will have the entire office eying you off in envy.

Here’s what you need:

kale
cabbage
fresh coriander/parsley/basil (all of one of these)
lettuce (any variety except iceberg – it’s only good for lettuce cups)
broccoli (uncooked)
avocado
sunflower seeds
soaked almonds or cashews

DRESSING

tahini
cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
lemon
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

And here’s what you need to do…

To make the salad, simply chop all the green ingredients finely. Chop the kale and cabbage as finely as you can – they taste better that way. Now, throw your nuts in too.

To prepare the dressing, simply mix tahini, olive oil, lemon, and apple cider vinegar together to taste. I never measure so I can’t tell you exact amounts, but slowly add each ingredient to get the perfect balance.

Once 12:30 rolls around, pour the dressing over the salad and enjoy. I make HEAPS of this as it’s nutrient dense, but calorie low, so go for gold. The nuts will also add protein, and if you’re feeling super fancy, you can replace them with home-made nut butter or cashew ‘cheese’ instead. I’ll post on making them at a later date but they’re delicious. Oh, and on the weekend when you’re not afraid of stinking out the office, add a finely chopped clove of raw garlic on top. DELICIOUS!

2. Lettuce Cup Sandwiches

If you’re new to The Happiness Cocktail you may have missed one of our all-time favourite meals – Lettuce Cup Sandwiches. They are an incredible way to add some zing to your lunch, and are healthy, nutritious, and easy to assemble at the office.

Here’s the link to everything you need to know about them…

And here’s a visual…

3. Our Famous Chicken and Curried Egg Sandwiches

Another old-time favourite of my husband and I, these sandwiches are SURE to beat the blahs.

Here’s a link to everything you need to know about these tasty morsels…

And a visual…

4. The best carrot salad you’ve ever eaten

So, you’ve tried all of the above and feel like something a little less green, and more orange. Then this carrot salad is for you! You’ll die.

Here’s the link to everything you need to know…

And here’s the visual…

5. When in doubt, take leftovers

I always find leftovers to be an amazing way to satisfy your lunch palette. They’re already made, and you know they’re tasty, so all you need to do is eat, and enjoy. Hooray!

This is one of my most crowd-pleasing dishes. It’s an eggplant moussaka made with quinoa, homemade tomato sauce, a shit load of vegies, and no cheese! It’s unbelievable, and even better the next day.

Here are the deets…

And here’s a visual…

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Three Eye-Opening Docos For Your Lazy Weekend Viewing

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while being on holidays for, ahem, eight months, it’s that days are easily spent exploring the world. Reading articles, discovering amazing new websites, cooking a new recipe, or watching a documentary you once may’ve overlooked in favour of that epic new release.

The beauty of all this spare time is that you get to benefit too, Happies. I get to sift through the millions of not-so-interesting things and, hopefully, present to you a couple of things worth taking the time to explore yourselves.

Like these documentaries, all of which I had the pleasure of viewing within a few days of each other. And all of which I highly recommend you watch if you haven’t already. Captivating stuff!

1. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

For anyone who’s ever questioned the benefits of juicing as they sit there munching their fried chicken, I urge you to watch this film. Created by likeable Aussie businessman, Joe Cross, this film captures his epic journey from sick, to inspiringly healthy.

You see, Happies, Joe has a rare auto-immune disease. He’s overweight, on a truck load of medications, in pain, and willing to do anything to get healthy again.

Cut to some incredible amount of days, weeks, months later and he’s cured. Fixed. Not on his meds. And not overweight. He’s also managed to pick up the delightful Phil Staples on his travels, who suffers the same disease as Joe, and fix him too.

Watch it if: You’re looking for an inspiring story of hope, health, and happiness that addresses the benefits of juicing, greens, and processed food avoidance. It’s also great if you’re overweight, stuck for options, and looking for a new lease on life.

2. Forks Over Knives

If you’re a believer in eating for health, this movie will open your eyes up to the incredible potential of food as medicine. It outlines the dangers of eating a diet high in processed, animal-based foods and argues that these are the root cause of serious illness such as cancer.

Watch it if: You’re addicted to Maccas. Or, you want to further educate yourself on the benefits of a plant-based diet with lots, and lots, and lots of greens.

3. Food Inc.

I can’t tell you how much this movie changed my perception of food. While it is important to note that the information being given is based on the USA and their totally whack food practices, it’s – erm – food for thought for us Aussies who really want to take notice of where our food is coming from, and how the animals we eat are treated.

After watching this film my husband and I have decided not to eat pork anymore. And proudly continue with our organic, cage-free chickens.

However, the movie also talks about cattle feed lots, and the effects of eating beef that is grain fed, rather than the preferred grass fed. While a large proportion of cattle in Australia is grass-fed, there’s currently a push to relabel Australian beef products to educate the consumer on whether the cattle is grass or grain fed,  or grain-finished, which is a loop hole in the system that allows cattle to be grain fed for 70 days, yet still classified as grass fed. Confusing, much? This is only the beginning.

Watch it if: You want to start asking more questions like: Where does our food come from? What’s in it? How did it got to my plate? Do I really want to eat this again?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Found: The Sephora of ethical, organic beauty buys

For those of you who found me through Twitter, or Gala Darling, or some other webisphere finder, you may not know that my real job is filed under Beauty Editor.

Yep, for the past 5 or so years I’ve worked at titles like Marie Claire, Famous, and PRIMPED, talking about all kinds of fun ways to braid your hair, wear red lips, or apply false lashes correctly. You know, life-changing things like that.

So, clearly I love a beauty product. Or ten thousand. And years of learning about beauty treatments and products and trends has taught me the difference between thermage and balyage and everything ‘age’ in between. It has also taught me that there’s a huge shift away from more mainstream beauty products towards smaller, niche brands that offer organic, ethical beauty products that aren’t rammed with chemicals and ingredients that we then slather all over our largest organ – our skin.

That said, I’m no martyr in this arena. I too am slowly phasing out some of my beloved skin products and consciously making the decision to not only eat clean food, but incorporate clean products into my daily regimen too. Not just beauty products, but cleaning products as well. It’s a work in progress, but I figure why ruin all my hard eating work by piling chemicals back in when they don’t really need to be there.

But here’s the snag in the stocking, Happies. The organic beauty world is relatively unregulated and the guidelines for the Australian and American organic governing bodies, for example, differ greatly from that of the French. Or English. Or German. So, any old chap can choose a simple governing body and get their products stamped with an ‘organic’ seal of approval, when all they’ve had to do is include some minute amount of organic ingredient in there. Spooky, no?

We then, as the consumer, see that stamp and trust in those stamps and buy said product, being fooled all the way to the chemical plant. Bummer! I’m going to have the lovely Sally from miniOrganics come on here and explain what to look out for – because for every dodge brand there are 10 ligit ones, you just have to know what to look for. But until then, check out this…

SPIRIT BEAUTY LOUNGE.COM

Pretty much the most exciting thing to have happened to me in the last 24 hours, this website sells a HUGE variety of natural, organic, ethical, sustainable beauty brands that you can trust. They’ve done all the hard, annoying sifting for you. Brilliant!

I’m lusting after the Ilia Pure Lip Care, because I’m starting to think I don’t want all those nasties near my mouth.

As well as the Chocolate Sun Absolute Sun Sunless Tanning Cream because I’m incredibly pasty right now, and really need a fake tan before returning to Sydney.

Go have a little look around and see what you like. Think: Christmas Gift Ideas, Christmas Wishlists, New Year’s Eve Party Makeup Buys. Ahh, the list is endless. Have fun! And why not share your thoughts on organic beauty products and where you stand with them. Do you have any favourites?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Raw Meal Mondays: Berry Butter Smoothie

I just stumbled across this super tasty raw smoothie that combines delicious berries, banana, and peanut butter. It’s so easy, you could make it in 3.5 seconds before rushing out the door to work, it would just take a little bit of cooking ahead for the raw peanut butter and the raw almond milk.

Here’s the visual…

Image courtesy of Raw Food Recipes

And here’s what you need to recreate this incredibly easy masterpiece…

2 cups of frozen mixed berries

2 frozen bananas

2 cups of raw almond milk (this is done by making it yourself at home. See video below)

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

3 heaped teaspoons of peanut butter. Raw, not roasted.

1 cup of frozen cherries

And here’s what you need to do to make it…

Blend all ingredients in your blender.

That is all.

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx