Announcing the 30 Days to a Better Woman Project

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” and The Art of Manliness’ “30 Days to a Better Man

Starting May 1st, I am starting Month 1 of my “Becoming a Better Woman” project! I am extremely excited to start working on this year-long project. My hope is that I can learn to overcome my challenges and strengthen my own character and relationships this year.

I am posting the 30 day itinerary on this post so that anyone else who would like to do this with me can start on day 1 no matter what day of the month it is, and so each of my subsequent posts about each day can be found.

“The goal of this project is simple: to encourage women to be better women in all areas of their lives. I’m sure all of us have made goals to improve ourselves. But often our goals become one of those well-meaning intentions that we plan to do…. some day. And if you’re like me, some day never comes, and you’re stuck in the same place of mediocrity you were before.” -The Art of Manliness

It’s always nice to start off with a directive, something concrete and written down so that you can get yourself in the habit of consciously accomplishing goals. That is what Month 1 of the “Better Woman” project is all about! So here is how it works: There is a specific task to accomplish each day of a 30 day series. Each task is geared toward introspection and action- to think about who you are as a woman and then to act upon what you discover! As I post each day, I will add a link to the list below so that you can easily reach the details of the daily project.

** If you are doing the 12 month “Becoming a Better Woman” project with me, then Month 1 also includes the goal of exercising daily and clean eating! **

And so here it is my lovely ladies:

The 30 Day Challenge to Becoming a Better Woman:

Day 1: Define your core values

Day 2: Get your diamond ring polished (or an important piece of gold or silver that needs it!)

Day 3: Research a womanly topic

Day 4: Increase your endorphins

Day 5: Cultivate your gratitude

Day 6: Start a Journal

Day 7: Update your resume

Day 8: Reconnect with an old friend

Day 9: Take a man on a date

Day 10: Find your VULVA (Values Unaltered by Life’s Varying Adjustments)

Day 11: Memorize a poem

Day 12: Give yourself a breast exam

Day 13: Create/Revise your bucket list

Day 14: Declutter your life

Day 15: Write a letter to your Mother

Day 16: Make a meal

Day 17: Create a budget

Day 18: Start a debt reduction plan

Day 19: Talk to 3 strangers

Day 20: Schedule a physical exam

Day 21: Perform an act of service

Day 22: Write your own eulogy

Day 23: Improve your posture

Day 24: Learn a Manual Skill

Day 25: PLAY!

Day 26: Take the Army Physical Training test

Day 27: Start a book

Day 28: Write a love letter

Day 29: Conquer a fear

Day 30: Have an “old-fashioned” girl’s night out

There it is my girls. I am excited to see what happens within myself as I make the habit of accomplishing little things each day, but most of all, I can’t wait to hear about what each of you experience! We are all different and are in different phases of life and I really believe that we can glean new perspectives from each other. Please post your experiences, questions, comments… whatever on the appropriate post of the day. I can’t wait to learn from each of you!

As I have been thinking about this over the last few weeks I have found myself growing in gratitude for being a woman. And more, I have found myself desiring to seek after “womanliness”. I think womanliness is different from the concept of femininity. Femininity brings to mind the characteristics that are generally associated with being a woman, such as softness and tenderness. However, femininity is a human characteristic. Men can be feminine. Womanliness on the other hand conjures a greater picture, which may include femininity. Womanliness includes characteristics that are needed to perform beautifully as a woman in society, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a grandmother. Each of these is separate from another and each has specific types of characteristics that make them unique. The characteristics required to be a wife are different from the ones needed to be a great sister (there may be some overlap of course). But the concept itself says that womanliness is a deep concept that needs to be developed and honed, like a block of clay or a blank canvas. For each of us to discover our inner womanliness we need to put in the work to become diverse, adaptable, educated, and ever seeking to become a better woman.

Let’s bring back the Art of Womanliness.

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Book Review: The Happiness Project

“The Happiness Project”

By Gretchen Rubin

I happened upon this book by accident. Brig and I were at Target browsing through the book section. Typically, there just isn’t much to be said about the book selection at a chain store like Wally or Target, but this time there just happened to be a gem. I picked it up and thought, “This sounds uplifting!” and from that moment I loved every page.

This book is about a woman who is a writer, a mother, and a wife (in a small nutshell!). She takes a look at her life and discovers that she is quite content with what she has going on. She has 2 beautiful little girls, a good husband, a good writing career. But, despite her contentedness, she decides to see if changing little pieces of herself would make her happier. She then embarks on this year-long experiment where she makes specific goals for each month. For example, one month she decides that she would work on her marriage by nagging less and not expecting to be noticed for every little thing she does (she said she got upset when her husband didn’t acknowledge her efforts).

Through her 12 months of goals, she becomes more introspective, more grateful for the people and things in her life, more patient and more proactive. She shares specific stories of her successes and failures, which I appreciated so much. As I read, I felt empowered! I felt like she was telling me that I could change for the better and become happier too- even though I am extremely content with my life and who I am. She had a very unique perspective, and one that I needed. I am not someone who deals with very difficult things personally- I am healthy, happily married, happily employed, happy! Content! And Gretchen points out that she is that way too- healthy, happily married, happy in her career, etc. But why should that stop us from wanting to become more? Doesn’t this world need more people who desire to rise above content into the realm of happy?  Happy people, Gretchen reminds us, are more likely to reach out to others in a spirit of compassion and charity than all others. I think I’d like to be more like that.

This book has inspired me to do something similar. Please take a look at the “Becoming a Better Woman” page on our blog to see what I’m up to with it! Like Gretchen, I want to become more, and yet simply learn how to “Be Tiffani”.

Picturepalooza!

Because of our sporadic internet availability, posting regularly has been a little hard! So, may I present you with tons of pictures!

First! I gave Brig a haircut. I’ve never given anybody a haircut before… So it was an intensely scary hour for us both! haha. We could’ve taken 10 minutes and $10 to have someone else do it, but where’s the fun in that??

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Next, we made a new friend: AJ from “The Chocolate Conspiracy” in SLC. We went to an organic, vegan chocolate making class there and had a blast! We got to taste cacao beans from all over the world (they all taste different by themselves!) and made our own ganache truffles. It was so fun and AJ was a great host.  The only problem now is that regular store-bought chocolate is no longer tasty or satisfying. Only premium artisan chocolate will do for us now! Sigh. 🙂

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Brig and I have begun to “mass produce” our BBQ sauces! These pictures only show one of them, the original “Barb-a-hooah” that Brig has been making for a couple years now. It’s really good! We have 3 others too- a tangy/mustardy chicken sauce, a sweet BBQ sauce, and an amazing chicken glaze. YUM! And we want some taste testers, so let us know if you’d like to try some!

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We went out with our friends Ash and Jordan to “Color Me Mine” for a Jordan concert! We loved being serenaded by lovely renditions of John Mayer, The Beatles, and James Taylor, and our favorites: Jordan originals. We suggest you all go listen to him play one of these weekends! Brig and I have lofty goals of having dogs in the future, so we painted ourselves some super cute doggie bowls… and are now using them as cereal bowls.

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Tate’s school put on “The Wiz”, which if you don’t know, is the ghetto’s version of the “Wizard of Oz”- bursting with groovy beats and “don’t trust the white guy” themes. It was fun, especially watching our Orem, UT white kids try to groove bro-style.

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Oh! here they are: The new bottles and labels for some of our BBQ sauces!

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Basically, what this post is trying to say is that we are incredibly happy. We have so much fun together, we dream big, we play and are trying to ease ourselves back into society (you know, answering phonecalls, hanging out with friends and family; things like that). Life couldn’t be more wonderful together, and we are so pleased to see that each day gets better.

Book Review: “The Art of Racing in the Rain”

“The Art of Racing in the Rain”

by Garth Stein

This was the first book I have started and finished since graduating college. Is that a little bit ridiculous? I have always thought of myself as someone who never gets sick of reading, and yet, after forcing myself to consume volumes of information during my college years, I have found that I have become weary of reading. How awful! I have been trying to finish “Ender’s Game” for nearly a year now, I’ve tried to pick up several of my beloved Classics, but my brain rebels, “No! I will not stuff one more bit of written information in me! There’s no room left, and I’m tired! So go watch a movie or stare at Pinterest instead!” My brain can be a real jerk sometimes! (Especially when it knows I’m trying to quit Pinterest!). Anyway, this is happy moment to report on! I have started and finished a book. Finally!

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a story about a family through the eyes of their dog, Enzo. Enzo is an incredible faithful dog who loves his family entirely, especially the dad, Denny. Enzo is an armchair philosopher of sorts- he believes that he needs to glean as much human wisdom as possible because when he dies, his soul will come back to earth as a man. He describes his desires to become more like a man, and his battle with fighting his carnal instincts despite himself.

I think the thing I liked most about this story was that this dog, who desired to become more than he was, struggled to grow just as much as I feel I do, and in the same ways. One part of the book that has stayed with me is a scene where Enzo become incredibly sad because of an event in the family. He knows that he should handle the event and his sadness with dignity and poise, comforting his family instead of adding to their sorrow. But, despite what he knows he should do, he is overcome and runs away in a flurry of carnal desires. He runs through the forest, hunts a squirrel and kills it viciously, devouring it even as his conscience is finding him utterly disgusting. He sleeps in the forest that night, seething in defeat and dismay, now not only for the unfortunate even in the family, but for his reaction to them. He wakes up in the morning, with a clear head, and heads home, covered in blood and mud, to do what was right- comfort his family. What a metaphor for how we can feel when doing to opposite of what we know is right! Isn’t it true? When you act contrary to what you know is right, you tend do really make it count- “running through the mud” and doing things you wouldn’t have ever done normally? I do this on a spectrum of severities: from lashing out instead of communicating like an adult to deliberately rebelling against my character. Mind you, I, like Enzo, am continually striving to overcome myself, but that doesn’t mean that mistakes don’t happen! Enzo redeems himself and doesn’t let his emotions rule him again, he has overcome yet another weakness in himself.

I felt like this book had many nuggets of great life metaphors, like the above scene. Though, the story itself was often frustrating (though, that was deliberate by the author). Maybe it was because the main conflict was so emotionally draining. I wouldn’t say that this is the best book I’ve read, not even close; it was often slow, but it was nice to be able to find a book that was short and simple.

If you need a book that you don’t have to commit too much time or emotional effort to, I’d recommend this book to you. (Or if you have an insatiable love for dogs like me, this will be good for you too!).

And thus begins my journey into training my brain to like reading again! Wish me luck!