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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Joy Chasers

Two years ago today I hit the publish button for the first time and started Chasing Joy.  Now we are Chasing Joy together!!!  
Please sign the card.  :-)  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bowl of Joy

If you have been reading Chasing Joy for a while you know I’m all about happiness, positivity, and gratitude, my combination for Joy. This includes finding ways to turn every day experiences into something more joyful. So, when I heard the good people at Bertolli were looking for bloggers to write about how to turn the routine act of a weekday evening meal of soup into something special I jumped on it. In one of my very first posts I Am Worth The Cheese Dip I wrote “Even something as routine as watching TV on the couch can be fun when you make it special” So here are my top tips for Turning a simple soup dinner into an especially joyful experience.

1. Plan It - Now when I say plan it I don’t mean for you to whip out your to-do list and start making notes. It’s not that serious. What I mean is make it purposeful. Say to yourself or family or significant other, tonight, or tomorrow night, or whatever night you deicide will be special. In other words make it purposeful. That way you are looking forward to it. Anticipation is a main part of the fun of most of the things we enjoy in life.

2. KISS - You know Keep it Simple Stupid (you can drop the last S because all of you Joy Chasers are brilliant). Choose a meal that is easy to prepare. I used the Bertolli Premium Meal Soup Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken. It was super easy to make. Add the frozen soup to a pot, throw in a cup of water and stir occasionally while simmering.

Soups on!

I paired it with a piece of garlic toast, a spinach bacon salad and wine. Make your salad from things on hand in your fridge. My spinach bacon salad was baby spinach, crumbled turkey bacon and a boiled egg. Good food does not have to take long to cook. Have a meal that will not take you more than an hour. You want to be able to do this on a weeknight and you don’t want to be too tired to enjoy it.

3. Set the mood – Again don’t go over the top. It should not take more than a few minutes to set the mood. If it’s you and your family or a significant other maybe have a picnic on your living room floor. Throw down a blanket and your dishes, utensils, drinks, and some pillows. Grab a few board games and there you have a cool family night that everyone will remember. If it’s you and your significant other clear the junk off your kitchen table grab a couple candles and your favorite bottle of wine. Turn the lights down low, turn the mood music up and turn your meal into a romantic night to remember.

4. Use the good stuff – Pull out your good dishes. No paper plates and plastic spoons with this dinner. You would be surprised at how different it feels to eat on nice plates. We all have these things in our lives that we put aside for special occasions. But if we are not careful the special occasions never come and then these nice things never get used. So when you create your special evening meal make it really special and use your good glasses, dishes, and silverware.

5. Drink up – Have a special drink. Now what is special is different for everyone so pick your poison. I have a special bottle of wine. It was given to me by a friend who was trying to convince me that I could enjoy wine. (she happened to be right). On another night I may decide to go with a non-alcoholic drink, my favorite, but seldom consumed Pepsi. Not the diet stuff either. What is your special drink? Now, if you are doing this special meal with your kids how about smoothies. Have your kids throw in their favorite frozen fruits in a blender with some water and a little sweetener (sugar, honey, etc) and blend. It only takes a few minutes and smoothies are always fun!!!

6. Enjoy your alone time - Now if you are like me you will be treating yourself to an especially joyful dinner. Dinning alone does not make it any less special. I went for a relaxation them. I started by making sure I’d have all the things that make me feel warm and fuzzy.
My dog hurt on my comfy couch
Me and Peanut having a Joyful night in

My nice comfy couch with a couple of soft blankets for snuggling. Gathered my furry friend were to keep me company.
Yummy Dinner
Made sure my DVR was all set for me to indulge in my favorite guilty pleasure the soap opera General Hospital!!! Then I had a nice hot shower to wash the day away. After my shower and dressed in my most comfy PJs I made my dinner. I assembled my salad and browned my garlic bread in the oven while my soup was simmering on the stove. Less than an hour after getting home I was completely relaxed enjoying my show and enjoying my yummy dinner. (For the record the Bertolli soup was really good or else I’d not be writing about it).

7. Keep it Going – After you have eaten, dinner is over but your special night does not have to be. Do not immediately jump up and start washing dishes or start working or cleaning or doing anything. Continue to enjoy the mood you have set. Focus on your family or significant other if you are sharing the night with them. Play some more of those board games or switch to video game or even a movie night. Let the mood music you set for your significant other take from dinner to dancing (minus the uncomfortable shoes). If you’re having a solo night, dive in deep with your guilty pleasure. Is it soap operas like me or maybe its reality TV or Romantic comedies, or crime dramas? If TV is not your thing lose yourself in that novel you have not had time to read. Indulge in those issues of your favorite magazine that have been piling up. Or go crazy beating all of your friends online or on your phone with words with friend. Whatever, you did to make dinner special stay with it and stay in that joyful place.

If you are interested in using Bertolli meal soups for your own routine soup dinner a more joyful experience checkout the Bertolli website here. You can also follow Bertolli on Facebook and Twitter

Have you ever turned a simply prepared meal into a special joyful experience? What did you have? What tips do you have for turning a routine dinner into a joyful experience?

*I was compensated by Bertolli to participate in the Weeknight Meal Special Challenge. All of the opinions and content above are my own.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flashback Friday: Shower Sparked My JOy

Happy Friday Joy Chasers!!! TGIF!! This weeks flashback Shower Sparked My Joy is about finding Joy even during difficult situations.  That is often harder than it sounds.  However, finding some sort of positive out of a bad situation often makes it not seem so bad after all.  Tell me about a time when you were able to see the joy in a bad situation.
Now onto the Flashback. Flashback Friday it is where we Flashback to our older blog posts and linkup. You can also post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page. Flashback Friday is a great way to rediscover our earlier works and discover some new blogs. So pick your link and add it below. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post.

Now add your link below but be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. Might I suggest the ones listed before and after your post. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.

Don't forget to grab the new I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Joy 200

I have read over 200 books. I have lost over 200 lbs. (That is if you count the 30-50 lbs I have repeatedly lost and regained over the last ten years). I have walked my dog over 200 times. I have driven over 200 miles in one weekend. I have spent over $200 on my hair. I have traveled over 200 miles away on vacation. I have spent more than $200 for life saving treatments for both my dog and cat. I have cooked over 200 dinners and packed over 200 lunches to work.

Guess what else I’ve done 200 times, soon to over 200 times…. Posted to this blog!!!! Yay this is my 200th post. Thank you, thank you (bowing and accepting your applause).

I cannot believe that this is my 200th post. I almost missed overlooked this milestone. What makes it more awesome is that this month also marks my 2 year blogaversary. For 2 years and 200 posts I have been trying new things, making better choices, avoiding joy thieves, making new bloggie friends, attending blog conferences, practicing an attitude gratitude, setting goals, and in all ways Chasing Joy. And I am honored to do it with all of you.

Special thanks to Joy Chasers Lynette, Marcia, Biba, Shanita, my mom, and anyone else who has been Chasing Joy with me since the beginning. Special thanks to bloggie friends from parenting by dummies and mom’s in boyland for teaching me about blogging without knowing you were teaching me about blogging. Thank you all for every comment, tweet, stumble, and share on Facebook.

I’m definitely looking forward to Chasing Joy with you for at least 200 more posts. Quick, now hurry up and give me some ideas of topics for the next 200 posts :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekend Guest: Ebony Delights

A Joy Chasers answered the call to be my Weekend Guest.  This weekend I am happy to welcome Ebony Delights. Ebony Delights is the author of the blog Ebony Delights. Ebony Delights is where you go to take part in her fun and expressive path to self improvement. Self Improvement the fun way is what Chasing Joy is all about! Let's find out how Ebony Delights is Casing Joy on her path to self improvement.  Here is her post:

I feel truly humbled that I was asked to guest post on the Chasing Joy blog. This is my first guest post so I ‘m really nervous and excited as well.

My life has changed a great deal in the last two years. A whole new world of positivity has open up for me especially when I read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho about young shepherd who dreamt about travelling around the world looking for treasures. It inspires, speaks of magic, dreams and positivity. I got to read this book after my sister bought it because of a friend’s awesome rave about the book.  What really opened me up to positivity was how the book spoke of freeing your mind from negative thoughts. The way the story unfolds and the boy getting to live out his dreams inspired me to chase joy and follow my heart.
I have since been chasing joy non-stop, choosing to see only the good and wonderful things in my life. The quotewhen you want something all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it (from the book) really struck me and I let it happen. I let sunshine in. Things haven’t all been roses but because I chose to see goodness, they have become life lessons which opened up new doors for me and my blog has become a platform to share my joys and successes. I am certainly a much more joyful person whose life is filled with laughter, blessing, love and delights. I will continue to chase joy as I become a person of value and improve my life skills.  I have certainly become a more organised person and I believe that I’m closer to my dreams because of the decisions I’ve made lately. I hope that when you read this you will go out and pursue your dreams and not let anything stop you.

What books or movies inspire and encourage you to Chase Joy?

Connect with Ebony Delights' Blog at . To find out more about the Ebony Delights visit her page on Facebook and follow her @EbonyDelights on Twitter.

If you'd like to be a weekend guest email me your post at and find additional information on guest posting qualifications here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flashback Friday: The Book of Joy

Happy Friday Joy Chasers!!! TGIF!! Yay!  This weeks flashback is right on time.  I just attended my book club this week and this weeks Flashback The Book of Joy is about the joy I get from reading and books.  Have you read any good books lately???? 

And now about the Flashback.  Flashback Friday it is where we Flashback to our older blog posts and linkup. You can also post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page. Flashback Friday is a great way to rediscover our earlier works and discover some new blogs. So pick your link and add it below. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post.

Now add your link below but be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. Might I suggest the ones listed before and after your post. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.

Don't forget to grab the new I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!  Oh and make sure you come back tomorrow to catch a guest post from our Weekend Guest. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wonderfully Made to Chase Joy

I came across the word of the year concept on my bloggie friend signingcharity’s blog Our Giggles and Grimaces.  Isn’t it a nice idea?  One word setting the theme for your entire year.  One word to fall back on for focus. One word to draw on for inspiration.  If you have been reading this blog for a while you would have assumed my word of the year would be Joy, or Happiness. Or, maybe I’d get real creative and come up with something good like Bliss.  Wrong!!!  :-)
I like to read inspirational devotional text in the morning.   I used to do it to make up for the fact that I did not go to church.  Now I do it because it is a nice way to start the day on a positive note.  A week or so ago the bible verse for the day was about how we are all Wonderfully Made by God.  Since then I have thought of this often.  So often in fact, that I decided that the word Wonderfully would be my word of the year for 2012. 
So why exactly did I select the word Wonderfully?  It is a happy word. You almost can’t help but to smile when you say it.  Try it.  Say it.  Wonderfully!  You’re smiling aren’t you???  Well in addition to the sound of the word I have selected it because it reminds me of the bible verse.  Ok, well not the actual verse because I can’t remember it word for word, and I can’t remember where it’s located in the Bible, and I’m too lazy to go and get the devotional book to find out.  But it does remind me of the meaning of the verse.
I, we are all Wonderfully made.  We are not accidents or surprises.  We were made on purpose by God to be exactly the wonderful joy chasers that we are.  The verse does not mean that we are perfect or without flaws.  It does mean that our flaws and imperfections come together and combine with all that is awesome about us to create a being that is Wonderfully made. 
I don’t have to have any doubts about my decisions because they will eventually bring about an outcome suitable for someone who is Wonderfully made.
I do not have to be afraid of other’s judgments because regardless of how misguided they may be in their observation of me I know I am Wonderfully made.
I do not have to be perfect because a person such as myself, who is Wonderfully made, finds uniqueness in her imperfections.
I am free to make mistakes because they allow me to grow smarter, stronger, and even give me funny stories that only a person Wonderfully made could appreciate.
I can allow my weaknesses to make me more personable and relatable because I am Wonderfully made.
I am free to go full force ahead Chasing Joy because I am Wonderfully made. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

As the two year blogaversary of Chasing Joy inches nearer, I am excited about all the new readers who are Chasing Joy with me.  I have met some new people, reconnected with some old friends and made some possible future networking connections too.  It is all so awesome.  This blog has been and continues to be a true blessing for me.  Because with every new blog post, Facebook and Twitter update new people are introduced to Chasing Joy I decided it was time to update my about me page and reintroduce myself.  Check it out here and feel free to introduce yourself in the comments below and include a link to your about me pages if you have one. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Flash Back Friday: Confession

Happy Friday Joy Chasers!!! I hope you had a good week.  It was fast for me.  It is Flashback Friday again, so I hope you are ready to link up! If you are new here Flashback Friday it is where we Flashback to our older blog posts and linkup. You can also post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page. Flashback Friday is a great way to rediscover our earlier works and discover some new blogs. So pick your link and add it below. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post.

This week my Flashback post is right on time.  It is about the different things you can do to have a more joyful weekend and I make a confession about my feelings about the weekends.  I'm happy to report that since I originally wrote the Confession post I have been doing much better with my down time. Have you ever had too much down time???

Now add your link below but be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. Might I suggest the ones listed before and after your post. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.

Don't forget to grab the new I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

30 is The New 20 But Not For You!!!


This is not the post you were suppose to get today.  I wrote a really great post last night.  Bloggers you know that feeling when you finish a post and you know it's great and you can't wait to hit the publish button? It was that kind of post.  And just when I was about to hit publish I had a reality check.  I thought about how public this blog is and how the subject of the post knows I have a blog, realized the possible repercussions, got scared and hit save instead of publish.  Don't worry I still plan to publish the post I just need to wait a while until when it's less risky.

So, in the mean time I will be sharing with you a few guidelines on what is inappropriate behaviors and fashions for grown-ups:
  • Have you seen those new trendy feathered dangled earrings? Well I have, on a 60 plus year old woman in a professional environment! :-(   Now, I have seen younger women wear these earrings out in clubs or other social settings and while not really my style they are kind of cute.  But on this 60 plus year old woman it was just extremely distracting.  Especially paired with a rather preppy and conservative sweater.  Instead of hearing what she was saying to me I was busy focusing on not staring at the earrings and wonder why she would wear an accessory that emphasizes the fact that she is far from in her 20s???  So dangled feathered earrings or any other trendy gaudy accessories should be left to those under 50.  Unless of course you are a super hot 50 plus (as I'm sure many of you Joy Chasers are) who is often assumed to be much much younger.
  • If you are over 35 and do not already have a record deal it is time to STOP having free style rap battles in public.  30 may be the new 20  (and 40 the new 30) for Jay -Z but 35 is still 35 for you. Rapping outside with a bunch of other dudes all in there late teens early 20s makes you look ridiculous and seem older than you are.  Save the rapping for Karaoke night .
  • OK ladies If you are over 25 you should have excepted and even embraced the fact that men will look at your butt.  Therefore, you DO NOT need to wear pants or shorts with the word Pink or any other word across your assets to draw their eye there.  They are  already looking and the words across your derriere liken it to a billboard.  Do you want your behind to look as big as a billboard? No? then stop writing words on it!  These pants and shorts just make you look really immature, ghetto, and the exact opposite of classy.  Leave that look for the teens who don't yet know how to be grown-n-sexy.
Joy Chasers do you have any fashion trends or behaviors that should have age limits?  What do you want to add to the list?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Flashback Friday: Walking Toward Joy...Again

Happy Friday Joy Chasers!!! I hope 2012 is treating you well.  This is the first Flashback Friday of the year, so I hope you are ready to link up!  If you are new here Flashback Friday it is where we Flashback to our older blog posts and linkup. You can also post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page. Flashback Friday is a great way to rediscover our earlier works and discover some new blogs. So pick your link and add it below. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post.

This week I am Flashing Back to my post Walking Toward Joy.. Again where I talk about a 5k walk I was preparing to do.   I have done a few walks but I did not do as many as I would have liked last year.  I will do more in 2012 though.  I feel like they hit two birds with one stone (that's actually a really disturbing figure of speech when you think about it).  You get a little exercise while raising awareness for the charity and your fee helps raise money for the charity.  Do you do any charity walks? If so, which ones and what do you like best about doing them?

Now add your link below but be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. Might I suggest the ones listed before and after your post. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.

Don't forget to grab the new I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Joyful Resolution!!!

There are two kinds of people in the world.  Those who make New Years Resolutions and those who do not make New Years Resolutions.  I am a resolution person. 

I guess I kind of think of resolutions and goals as the same thing.  I know resolutions tend to have a negative connotation of being unrealistic and or unattainable goals but I don't think of it that way.  I just think this is a new  year and there are some things I want to do the same or better and some things that I want to do differently. 

In the past I have always had the same few resolutions.  Be healthier, lose some weight, have more fun, and to stop doing things I don't want to do.  Every year I think I do better with these goals. This year I am adding a new one.  I think this will be a one year resolution though.  A special resolution for 2012.  I know your like what is it, just tell us your resolution already.

Well first let me warn you.  It is a little different.  I'm sure none of my friends or family are making this resolution.  OK, are you ready?  Promise you wont think I'm weird? Here goes my resolution for 2012 is to leave my house every day.

Weird Right?  Let me start out by saying I am not some sort of recluse who's afraid to go out side.  I go to work every day.  I spend time with friends. I walk my dog.  I do all sorts of stuff so clearly I go outside.  I know, then why the resolution? 

The reason for the resolution is that while I do go out it is not uncommon for me to spend an entire weekend home alone if I don't have plans. On those weekends when I don't leave my house other than walking my dog I often find myself down in the dumps.  I spend all week at work looking forward to the weekend only for it to arrive and find myself at home with nothing to do, feeling lonely, bored, and just down.  I mentioned in a past post that I was happier during the week than on weekend for this very reason.  While I don't feel that way anymore.  I still feel that I spend more than my fair share of weekends down.

So this year, 2012, I will leave my house every day.  During the week this is easy because I have work and there are people there that I actually like spending time with.  My days off will be the challenge.  On those days I will leave my house for more than to just walk my dog.  I will "go" somewhere.  I don't have to do anything major.  Every moment of downtime from work does not have to be super exciting. 

Here are a few examples of things I can (and will) do to get out of the house every day in 2012:
  • go to the mall
  • go to the gym
  • go to the movies
  • go visit a friend
  • go to different neighborhoods in my city and play the part of tourist
  • go to the book store
  • go out to eat
  • go to a museum
  • go to a sporting event
  • go bowling
  • go on a date
  • go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's (instead of my normal market)
  • go to the casino
  • go out for drinks
So this list has me covered for a couple months.  What are some other things I can do to get out of the house in 2012? Oh, and do you have a weird (I mean creative) resolution for this year?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dear 2011

Dear 2011,

Oh what a year we had.  Overall I think we were pretty good together.  In a way I am sad to see  you go.  It feels as though our time together was so short.  These past 12 months have flow by.  But boy did we accomplish a lot.
  • January - You helped me except the fact that while my life has not turned to be that perfect picture I envisioned I can start a Fresh Canvas for Joy.
  • February - You showed all the ways I could feel good by offering Help to others.
  • March - You helped me stand firmly in my Thirties and accept that I am now Thirty Plus One (soon plus two)
  • April - You taught me that I could find strength in looking good when a volunteering situation did go how I imagined.
  • May - You helped my survive both The Rapture and a visit from my ex.
  • June - You helped me have a little Joy on the Grill for the first time since my dad died.
  • July - You showed me goal setting can be fun when you create a Joy Board and helped me get my very first blogger award.
  • August - You gave me the idea to not just feel good on Friday but to Flashback on Friday.
  • September - You had me develop a stronger Joy Chasing Community by inviting other writers to be a Weekend Guest on Chasing Joy.
  • October - You took me to my first Blog Conference and started telling everyone all about it. 
  • November - You helped me strive for 100 Acts of Joy.
  • December - You prepared me for your exit by identifying 12 things I will not need in 2012.
2011 we really did have a great time. You were much more fun and easy going than your predecessor 2010.  In addition to all of the things I've listed you showed me and my family many blessings.  My mom entered a less stressful stage in her career.  My brother has prospered in many areas. My friends are doing well and seem to be Chasing Joy in ways that suit them.  2011 you took me to a blog conference, to Jamaica, and to church about 5 times (a personal record :-).

In a way I am sad to see you go 2011 but I am excited to find out what 2012 has in store for me. 

What would you like to say to 2011?  What were some of the highlights of 2011?
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