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Do you ever consciously think about the things that make you happy? Ever since I was small, I’ve paid attention to those little (and big things) that spark joy in my everyday life. Here are some of those things that make me happy:
This will come as no surprise, but I love books. Old books, new books, pretty books, exciting books, books from childhood, books I should have read as a child but didn’t. Books that tell a good story, books with beautiful illustrations, books that were received as gifts, books written by friends. I really love books.
While I’ve been known to buy books that I don’t intend to read just because they had a pretty cover, the truth is that I read a lot, too. You can follow me over at Goodreads. I don’t really have reading secrets, so I add everything I’m reading on my profile. I don’t leave reviews often, but if you want my opinion, just ask me there. You can comment on updates. It’s like Facebook for book nerds.
2. Trader Joe’s milk chocolate truffle bars
I really like chocolate, and I confess that I like milk chocolate and white chocolate much better than I like dark chocolate. (I don’t like coffee either. Bitter tastes are not my thing.) These bars from Trader Joe’s are one of my favorites. I haven’t tasted any other chocolate bar quite like them.
I try to avoid artificial ingredients, but Andes Mints are another favorite of mine if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby.
3. Pretty mugs and teacups
I love Anthropologie, but most of the time the price tag is more than my budget can handle. I have a Black Friday tradition of going to buy myself a mug or cute tiny bowl from Anthro. I’ve always loved dainty vintage teacups, but this little tradition of mine has led to an appreciation of their bigger cousins.
4. Pens that write well
There is something really, really satisfying about writing with a pen that flows nicely and has quality ink. I also love ones that come in colors other than black or blue. Purple and green are favorite ink colors of mine. I like pink, too, but it’s a little light sometimes.
5. Floral canvas shoes
I have always loved a new pair of white canvas sneakers at the beginning of summer. Their fresh, crisp whiteness looks so chic and timeless. But when floral ones came on the scene, I took to them immediately. Rifle Paper Company has teamed up with Keds to create some really beautiful ones.
6. A well-formatted planner
I was never much of a planner person, but as I’ve gotten older, I can’t seem to remember all my appointments without writing them down. Sometimes I still miss things even when they’re written in two places. I’ve been using Day Designer Daily Agenda ones for the past few years, and I also love the ones from Katie Daisy (a favorite artist of mine.)
I use an academic year (July-June) planner and have my wall calendar as a calendar year (January-December).
I have a need for flowers around me almost all year long. I like living, growing ones, so when it gets toward the end of January, I look for field daffodils in the grocery store (Trader Joe’s has them, and I’ve found them at Walmart). But what I really love are potted bulbs. I generally have hyacinths, daffodils, or tulips in the house until my outdoor flowers bloom in April.
We are happy to live near an Aldi, and I regularly bring home $3.99 cut flower bouquets from them year round.
Several years ago, an acquaintance on Facebook posted in her status that she had gone on Ancestry and gotten a free trial and had found out some really amazing things about her family’s history. I was curious as to how much one could find out, so I signed up. It was a lot. There are so many more records available now. I don’t usually keep a paid subscription, but occasionally they will have a sale and I purchase a 6 or 12-month one.
If it’s not in your budget, try going to your local library. Chances are they have an Ancestry subscription and you can look things up there. The downside is that you can’t easily merge the information to your tree that way.
Another resource if you are interested is FamilySearch. You can look things up for free there. The tree is shared, so your relatives may already be on it. It’s kind of nice to have one giant, collaborative tree.
9. Vacation and travel
Growing up, our family wasn’t really a vacation type. We did go on various road trips, but it was usually for a purpose like visiting relatives. My dad did love Sunday drives, though, where we would all pile in the car and go exploring. I loved that.
Vacations are a priority to us now. There is just something about getting away that is refreshing. It’s not necessary to have a lot of money to travel. We camp a lot, although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. That has allowed us to visit places that might have higher lodging rates, like Cape Cod. And there are some really fun campgrounds out there. We like Jellystone ones with all their kitschy charm. The bathrooms are so clean, and it’s nice to have hot showers.
I love having art in my house from ordinary people who sell their wares on Etsy or their own websites. Katie Daisy was the first person from whom I purchased art prints directly. At one point, Target had commissioned art from her and I have a teapot and cups and a snack tray featuring her signature style.
Other favorites are my in-person friends, Lucy McCracken of Lucy in the Sky Creations and Annie Barnett of Be Small Studios. Emily Hope at Hope Ink has some fun art, and I love Ruth Chou Simons of Gracelaced’s gorgeous prints.
I could go on and on with things that make me happy, but I’ll stop with 10 because that sounds like a good number. Sometimes it makes things brighter to go through life looking for those little joys.
What sort of things make you happy? Please share them with me. Feel free to include a blog post about it if you’ve written one.