inspiration #879: you're a rock star. you are.

I waas out walking the dog when I saw it. A glittery purple stone nestled into the rocks.  It hadn't been there the day before. I know because I walk this route every day and a glittery purple rock isn't something you miss. Part of me wanted to pick it up, take it home and put it on my desk but then I realized that no one would else would have this moment, this moment of looking at a glittery purple rock and smiling. I liked the idea of someone decorating this simple grey stone and placing it amidst other rocks for their child to find on their way home from school. Or maybe it was a child who made it and wanted to find the perfect home for it, with others like it but not exactly like it.

When I saw this stone I thought of the fact that sometimes we all feel like that glittery rock. We have moments when we feel good about ourselves. Our pants fit loosely, we're eating healthy, our skin glows, work is going great, our relationships are happy and we just know that we at our best. Maybe it's just a fleeting moment that we are filled with confidence. Maybe it's a day or maybe you are just one of those people who are perpetual rock stars. You have confidence for days. You lucky soul, you.

It's funny, though, when you feel like this, you often don't want to shine too brightly. Others may have said "Who do you think you are? You're not all it." Don't mind them. Maybe they haven't felt like a rock star in awhile. They forgot what it feels like to glow, to know that you are having your best day. If you're having that day where you feel like all is right in your world, congratulations. Be proud. Own it. Whether you've made significant changes in your life to bring about this confidence or you finally just realized how amazing you are, hold onto that feeling. Let it be contagious. Don't be afraid to tell others how amazing they are. Sharing that feeling makes your light bright. It won't dim it. Really.

Yesterday, I laced up my running shoes and headed out into the sunshine with the dog. When I got to the spot with the glittery, purple rock, it wasn't there. It had moved on. It's OK, though. I know it exists and that's enough.

why "this is us" will give you all the feels

Last night, I was curled up in front of the fire,  watching TV with big tears rolling down my cheeks. L. walked in and paused, his brow furrowing. "What's going on? Is she OK" he said, looking over at Emma, our dog who was tucked into my side, oblivious, sleeping soundly through my heaving cries.

"She's fine. She's snoring," I said. "It's this." I pointed to the television. The end credits for "This is Us" were rolling. This pilot episode, which had just finished airing, was one of the most anticipated new series of the fall and it was over.  I may have been crying because I was so happy that it was as good (better) than I had hoped. Maybe it was because the twist ending I had heard about was brilliant and touching and I didn't see it coming. Whatever the reason, I hit restart on the remote and watched it again. I've never done this before, watched the same episode back to back but it was so cleverly written that I had to watch it again just to soak it all in. Kudos to creator/writer, Dan Fogelman.

In case you missed it, this emotionally fulfilling series, perfectly, brilliantly, beautifully written and cast,  is about people who share the same birthday. Unless you saw the show last night, that's all that I can say. That's all I want to say. Just watch it followed by this digital episode of the cast talking about the reveal and why they chose to make this series. While I'm excited about other new series premiering ("The Good Place"), "This is Us" was the "thing" that has been missing from television (especially after the final episode of "Parenthood" aired in January 2015. "This is Us" airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT on NBC. I can't wait for next week. I'll have the Kleenex ready.

When is your favorite (or anticipated new favorite) series debuting this fall? Check out this calendar of series premiere dates on

Here's what's debuting the rest of this week:

Wednesday, Sept. 21
Blindspot (8 p.m., NBC)
The Goldbergs (8 p.m., ABC)
Lethal Weapon (8 p.m., Fox)
Survivor (8 p.m., CBS)
Speechless (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Empire (9 p.m., Fox)
Law & Order: SVU (9 p.m., NBC)
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC)
Black-ish (9:30 p.m., ABC)
Big Brother (9:30 p.m., CBS)
Designated Survivor (10 p.m., ABC)
Chicago P.D. (10 p.m., NBC)
Thursday, Sept. 22
Grey’s Anatomy (8 p.m., ABC)
Rosewood (8 p.m., Fox)
Superstore (8 p.m., NBC)
The Good Place (8:30 p.m., NBC)
Chicago Med (9 p.m., NBC)
Notorious (9 p.m., ABC)
Pitch (9 p.m., Fox)
The Blacklist (10 p.m., NBC)
How to Get Away With Murder (10 p.m., ABC)
Debate Wars (Seeso)
Friday, Sept. 23
Caught on Camera With Nick Cannon (8 p.m., NBC)
Hell’s Kitchen (8 p.m., Fox)
Last Man Standing (8 p.m., ABC)
MacGyver (8 p.m., CBS)
Dr. Ken (8:30 p.m., ABC)
Dateline NBC (9 p.m., NBC)
The Exorcist (9 p.m., Fox)
Hawaii Five-0 (9 p.m., CBS)
Shark Tank (9 p.m., ABC)
Blue Bloods (10 p.m., CBS)
Transparent (Amazon)

The Happygirl Guide to. . .Asian-inspired spicy peanut butter noodle salad

I love my sister-in-law, Sue. For many reasons. She reminds me a lot of my husband (her brother, L.) She's an incredible mom, friend, sister and educator. And she turned me on to this Asian-inspired noodle salad. She made this for one of her infamous parties. It's one of those  foods at a buffet that you try and think "Oh, right. Excuse me, while I load up on this salad before everyone else discovers this and it's gone." I was hooked. It's a cool, perfect balance of crisp vegetables, al dente noodles and creamy/salty peanut butter with a kick of heat.

This weekend, I was craving this salad. The weather here in Seattle has been uneven (rainy/sunny/cool/warm all in one day) and while I don't want hot comfort food yet, I don't have that same love for cold lettuce-based salads as I did this summer. After a quick trip to the market, I tossed this together in a few minutes and let it cool while I started taking in the summer decorations from the deck. By the time I was finished packing everything away and had showered, the flavors in this salad were perfectly melded. I served this for dinner last night with a simple sparkling water with lime and L. loved it as much as I did.

This is a great salad for taking to lunch or for buffets. It makes a large amount and stores well in the fridge. You can also add your favorite ingredients to the recipe. I added shredded chicken but this can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the meat or adding tofu. I like the the simple taste of orange (or red) bell peppers with carrots and green onions but you can also add broccoli, snow peas or whatever vegetables make you happy.

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The Happygirl Guide to Spicy Asian Peanut Butter Noodle Salad
This Asian-inspired cool, spicy noodle salad is a perfectly balanced mix of crisp vegetables, al dente noodles, protein (chicken, pork or tofu) in a spicy, creamy peanut butter dressing with a hint of refreshing lime. This is great cooled after several hours but even better the next day for lunch.
  • 1 16 ounces (1 box) cooked spaghetti (regular or whole wheat)
  • 1 large red or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks of green onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • juice from one lime
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • to your taste optional: Cooked shredded chicken, pork or tofu
In large bowl add cooked noodles, pepper, carrots, green onion. Add protein (cooked chicken, pork or tofu.) Set aside.In another bowl, combine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, cayenne pepper, lime juice, water, sugar and ginger. Whisk until smooth. Pour over noodle mixture. Toss to incorporate sauce and noodles.Refrigerate for 3 hours until cold. When serving, sprinkle with chopped peanuts.For a quicker assembly, buy pre-cooked protein and chopped vegetables.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 dinner-sized servings

the guide to. . .being the non-gossip girl

I am not proud to say this. About a year and a half ago I had a conversation that left me feeling dirty. I had met a friend for dinner and I realized that throughout the dinner, through the margaritas and the chips and salsa and fish tacos we had talked about other people, some our friends. We didn't do it intentionally or to be malicious. I think, in fact, we thought we were helping in some weird way by working out their issues or maybe we were trying to make ourselves feel better by talking about how screwed up other people's lives were. But these were people we were talking about and I felt like I had betrayed trust placed in me, even if they never heard our discussions.

That night I felt disgusted. I wondered "If I'm talking with a friend about another friend, then they will probably do the same thing about me." I decided at that moment that I wanted to be the kind of person who could be trusted. I didn't want to wonder if someone overheard my conversation or if God forbid, what I said got back to someone. This wasn't the person I wanted to be.

It happened organically. I simply didn't bring up other people in conversation and if someone else did, I would say something like "I honestly don't know" and let the subject dissolve. It wasn't easy at first which made me realize how much we do talk about other people. What amazes me is how much my relationships shifted immediately, in a positive way. Once you stop filling a conversation with other people, you actually learn something about someone else, about what they like, about where they've been and where they want to do. You talk about the world and all that there is to do and see and be and play. You also build trust with those around you, whether it's a family member, friend or colleague. This is key to long-lasting, deep, fulfilling relationships.

In trying to get my happy back. I realized that you can't control everything that happens in your world but you can control what comes out of your mouth. I want the people in my world to know that your name is sacred in my mouth. I will protect your name and speak of you only with the best of intentions, because that is what a happy girl does. You have my word.