Fri 30 Dec 2011
Many, many Christmases ago my mother gave me a little picture with a message inside: If you can see it in your mind, you can find it in your life. It was a small stocking stuffer, something she’d found somewhere probably months before Christmas and stashed away in her gift drawer for safe keeping.
This was years before The Secret and all that power of positive thinking stuff became trendy, but the message in that small frame conveyed the same meaning. I took it to heart, and every once in a while I’d look at it and try to picture what I wanted; initially it was superficial things like a new car or wardrobe. I’d picture myself in a fabulous new dress and wish for it – a bit childish, really.
Then a couple of years ago I found myself entirely frustrated with my life and wanting to make some major changes. And though I’d lost that framed message somewhere in my many moves I thought a lot about the meaning behind those words. I was fed up with the way things were: work was unfulfilling, dating was downright sufferable and while I had a few good friends I felt they were all moving forward with love and career and I was stuck in a holding pattern.
I think before that realization, I always looked toward outside influences, things and people to make my life better. Perhaps if I went out more, I could meet the right guy. Or if I bought the right clothes or got the perfect haircut, I’d feel better. My work as a contributor to a popular celebrity gossip magazine got me into fun parties and on red carpets but I actually kind of hated the work. I liked the attention and approval I received from impressed acquaintances more than the job itself, which basically made me a typical attention-seeking Los Angelino on the fringes of show business. How utterly cliché.
Right after my visit to Ireland in the autumn of 2009, I started to think about that framed message much differently. I knew I had to change from the inside out – and that in order to truly visualize what I wanted I had to first believe anything was possible. I started by getting out of bed every morning with a sense of purpose, and I committed to starting the day with a workout at least 5 days a week. On my walk to the gym, I’d think about the kind of life I wanted for myself – I knew I wanted to live in Europe and write and meet a wonderful man and be happy. It started with general ideas and got more specific as time went on. On my walk home, I’d go over all the things in my life that I was grateful for…something I rarely thought about before then.
I also nurtured myself in other ways. Once every two weeks, I’d go to the art house cinema down the road on my own to watch a film. I remember seeing “An Education” – a movie about a British schoolgirl who dreams of traveling to Paris and reading books and eating at fabulous restaurants – and it further cemented my own dreams of moving. With a lot of hard work, a bit of luck and a good amount of faith, I got approved for permission to move and live in Ireland in early 2010.
I won’t get into all that happened after I landed – most of you already know from reading this blog (and for those who are new, welcome, and feel free to peruse the archives!). About a month after I got here, I wrote an email “from the future” to my two best friends back home, describing in detail what my life would be like in six months’ time. Again, I referred to the message in the picture frame – I pictured everything very clearly in my mind and wrote down what I saw word for word. It involved a career in writing, a great apartment and a fabulous new man. It took a little more than six months, but almost everything I wrote in that email is now my reality.
So as you prepare your New Year’s resolutions for 2012, really try and see what it is you want to accomplish and nurture that dream. If you would have told me three years ago that I’d be living in Dublin with Mountaineering Man, doing work I enjoy and feeling this fulfilled with life, I would have thought you were nuts. Don’t set any limits, just reach for the stars.
Easy Breakfast Egg Cups
I know many of you (including me!) will resolve to shed a few pounds in the new year. One of the best tips for losing weight? Make sure to eat a good breakfast! These egg cups are easy to make, loaded with protein and contain no processed carbs. Make a ten at the beginning of the week and take two for breakfast each day. Simply reheat in the microwave on medium-low for one minute.
8 medium eggs
200 ml low-fat milk or soy milk
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
2 spring onions, chopped
4 slices of cooked turkey rashers, chopped into small dice
3 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
Pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 160 C. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk until combined. Pour the contents evenly into a muffin tin, using only 10 out of the 12 muffin moulds. Drop in an even amount of red bell pepper, spring onion and turkey rashers into each egg mixture mould, then do the same with the ricotta cheese (just scoop out with a small spoon and plop ‘em in there!). Add a pinch of salt and pepper to each.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the egg is set; depending on your oven it may take up to 5 minutes longer. Just check and make sure it’s not wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool. Refrigerate – keeps for 5 days.