7 not terribly exciting things that are making me really happy these days

7 not terribly exciting things that are making me really happy these days

Today I’m sharing some summer favorites, though not quite the traditional way. Some are free, one is a little pricey, but all are very, very simple, and making me irrationally happy on a near-daily basis during these hot hot summer months.

1. Lucy’s Cons

Converse All-Stars have always struck me as happy shoes, and my 10-year-old’s new color seems like the happiest.

2. Cold cans of sparkling water

This is embarrassing, because we have a Sodastream (this one) and I really like it. A lot. But what I really like is to be able to grab a can of something on my way out the door, especially if it’s flavored with grapefruit juice or raspberry and lime. So basically I’m addicted to Spindrift.

You can find it in some delis, and at Costco, and my local Trader Joe’s just started carrying it. But what made me REALLY happy was stumbling upon a great Sprindrift deal when I was at Costco last week. They’re replacing the variety pack I buy with a new flavor combo. Long term, this is bad news, because the new pack includes orange mango and I am allergic to mango in the way most people are allergic to poison ivy. But short term, the old variety pack was on clearance for dirt cheap, so we bought them all. That would be 5 packs x 24 cans. My kids thought I was crazy but seeing my fridge stocked with grapefruit Spindrift makes me really happy.

3. Instant Pot eggs

I’ve never minded making hard-boiled eggs (or soft-boiled, which I like even more but don’t have the patience to make every morning). Fill your pot, boil your water, set your timer … it’s no big deal.

But peeling them is another story: that part is a big deal, or at least it was until I started making them in the Instant Pot. There’s something about cooking under pressure that makes the eggs super easy to peel, which means we’re making—and actually eating—lots of hard-boiled eggs this summer.

I do mine for 5 minutes at low pressure, but if you want an in-depth tutorial (and more science on why it works) I like this one.

4. tiny star fields

It’s a twitter account that tweets tiny constellations throughout the day, injecting some serenity into my twitter feed (which I am checking less and less, because I can’t stop thinking about this TEDx talk).

Related accounts I love: tiny astronaut, tiny gardens, and infinite deserts.

5. Desk drawers …

aka “organization.” I haven’t had a desk with drawers in years and because of the way this file cabinet is positioned, I have drawers again. (And another thanks to this computer stand, a Target impulse buy.) Plus now I have easy access for filing papers, which means it’s actually getting done.

One of my back-to-school resolutions—even though I’m not the one going back to school—is to keep things organized, so I don’t waste time looking for my stuff. To a large degree, I just need to do it—but having the right tools sure makes it easier.

6. My steamer

Back in April, I shared 6 mini-resolutions for spring, including completing the cycle more often. Specifically, the laundry cycle. Dozens of you commented to say some version of the same thing: get a steamer! So I did. And it’s amazing.

None of you told me which steamer I should get, and it turns out there are a bunch out there, so through a combination of reviews and dumb luck I landed on this one and I really like it. Will and I both use it a ton. It’s so much easier than an iron, but what I really love is our clothes don’t pile up on the ironing board like they used to. Instead of using it in the laundry room, we keep it in our bathroom, near our clothes closet. If anything needs freshening up before we get dressed in the morning, we plug it in and it’s ready in one minute. It’s also easy to pack for trips, so you don’t have to look rumpled even if you’re living out of a suitcase.

Readers, thanks again for the hot tip!

7. My 5-star stamp

First, the bad news: you can’t buy this. My friend (and MMD team member) Katie had it custom-made, by her husband, on his new toy aka 3d printer. I LOVE IT. I use this to stamp a 5-star outline (in my reading journal, of course) and then color in the appropriate star rating.

If we ever add new products to the Modern Mrs Darcy shop, this will be one of them. In the meantime, a similar stamp is available on Etsy (although you’d have to ink carefully to use this in your reading journal), and if you have access to a 3d printer, this is the link to print the same stamp, courtesy of Katie.

Do you have any current favorite things that are bringing you irrational amounts of happiness right now? I’d love to hear about them—particularly if they’re of the not-traditionally-exciting variety.

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60 comments

  1. Susan King says:

    As I am reading your blog post today, my new Instant Pot is making hard boiled eggs. BIP (Before the Instant Pot) we didn’t eat a ton of hard boiled eggs. Now my husband wants one to take to work every day. BIP we were not huge plain yogurt eaters. Now some family members are enjoying 1 or even 2 servings a day. So much better for them than the desserts they were eating. I am loving this new kitchen tool!

    • adrienne says:

      I don’t have any suggestions, but would also love to get some recommendations. I love my instant pot thus far, but haven’t done much with it yet….

  2. LoriM says:

    Wow, there’s now a web site with links to print THINGS? My mind has been blown. I mean, I knew there was 3D printing, but I thought it was mostly used in industry. I’m pretty sure I have had the desire at some point to create a one-shot “thing” to make life simpler. Now I know I can just find someone with a 3D printer to print it for me. Are they expensive? Easy to own? I need to know more…

    Also – quitting social media? Yikes. I saved the article to read later. Heh.

  3. Whitney says:

    Hey, it’s the Deep Work author! That was such a good book. One of the chapters is “quit social media”, so I’m guessing the TED talk is from there?

    Anyway. You should read that book. It has lots of food for thought.

  4. Lori East says:

    Irrational amounts of happiness? Yes. I have returned to taking piano lessons after a long absence (ahem, 40 years). It is nothing like riding a bike, it did not all come right back as so many assume. It’s hard work and infinitely therapeutic. I celebrate each new skill I’m learning (or relearning), and am just tickled silly that I can hear something beautiful through my efforts.

  5. Karen France says:

    Sugar-free popsicles have become a highlight of my Florida Cycling group’s rest stop. In the near 90 degree heat we are enjoying these sweet, fruity treats to cool off before finishing our ride. For just a few $$ our entire group is treated.

  6. Chrissie says:

    Can I ask where you got your desk and chair from? Love that whole setup, and we’re about to furnish an office of our own soon!

  7. Erin says:

    A restaurant in town does oyster happy hour Saturdays and Sundays from 3-4, where you can get a baker’s dozen cold water oysters for $12. They make their own condiments and saltines, too. Add a cold beer, and I’m in heaven.

  8. Oh my gosh I need an Instant Pot. A couple months ago I started eating a hard-boiled egg for breakfast every morning. I make them all on Sunday evening and usually spend 20 min peeling them in front of some trashy reality TV show so I have them ready to go for the week. Would love to shrink those 20 min!

  9. Rayni Peavy says:

    I always love reading posts like this from you, Anne! All the little things in life really do add up to bring happiness to the every day. It makes me think of Kathleen Kelly when she says, “All this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.”
    A few things on my list this summer:
    1. Loose leaf Scottish breakfast tea with a dash of cream.
    2. Making a pot of tea most mornings and using a lovely china tea cup instead of a mug.
    3. Drinking Champagne or Prosecco more often just for fun, because I enjoy it. It’s not only for celebrations.
    4. White nail polish.
    5. Game of Thrones
    6. Seeing what Kate Middleton wears to her latest events.😁

  10. Amy F. says:

    Mrs. Meyer’s soap in the Bluebell fragrance–AND the cleaning product–it smells so good and makes me actually enjoy cleaning to have that fragrance when done. Just ordered more of the hand soap and discovered they have it in laundry detergent, too. I’m hoping that will help me want to finish the cycle of laundry……now, if only the clothes would magically fold and put away themselves!!

  11. Jennifer N. says:

    1. Tiny summer rain showers: I had to mow the lawn in near-100 degree heat Saturday and twice a tiny shower came through to cool me off while I worked. (I also drank gallons of water and took lots of breaks).

    2. Family: I hosted my grandmother’s 85th birthday gathering yesterday and it was lovely to have everyone at my house, even if I was exhausted from all the work to get the house ready. My grandma was happy and even my 8-year-old son told me this morning how much fun he had at the “party” yesterday.

    3. Homemade Ice Cream Cake: I made homemade ice cream cake for my grandmother, which was a big hit (and at least half the cost of a similar ice cream cake with personalized flavors!) And I didn’t have to heat up my kitchen making a traditional cake. (I also made deviled eggs and totally got your comment about peeling eggs being a pain.)

    4. Game of Thrones – It’s back!!! And both episodes so far this season have been amazing. I realize this show is not everyone’s cup but my husband and I are both huge fans.

  12. Heather says:

    I got myself a new pair of converse and then I went berry picking and now they are covered in mud & I have to clean them. I’m kicking myself for bringing my nice brand new shoes somewhere where there was mud! I do love the color of Lucy’s! I just tried Sprindrift for the first time last week and I wasn’t a fan, but I’m not a fan of sparkling water. My boys enjoyed it. I bought myself a steamer this year (a different brand) and I love it. In fact, I used it yesterday. I put on a t-shirt and it had some wrinkles and I thought “Hey, let me whip out my steamer and get those wrinkles out in two minutes!” So much easier than ironing! We only ever do our hard boiled eggs in the InstantPot :). My husband is thinking about buying a 3D printer because the price has really gone down on them and he was saying that many people need/want stuff 3D printed, so you can actually make some money doing small jobs and recoup some of your costs. What is bringing me happiness is our kitchen remodel which is so close to being finished!

  13. Susan in TX says:

    Never heard of Spindrift, but my college girls are addicted to LeCroix and/or Soleil, which sounds like the same sort of thing (they have LeCroix at our Costco). Carbonated flavored water with zero sugar/zero calories.

    Reminds me a lot of Clearly Canadian that we used to drink in the 90s. Except that was probably sweetened as we didn’t realize all the horrors of sugars in those days. 😉 Anybody else remember Clearly Canadian? Is that still around?

  14. My desk looks almost identical. From Ikea. A table with drawers that roll under.
    I must get a steamer. We have just renovated some apartments for vacation rentals, and after each rental I have zillions of sheets and pillowcases to iron (they are antique heavy cotton sheets, embroidered, and they come out pretty wrinkled). I really need to cut down the hours I spend on ironing them.
    If you have a garden, sprinkle the shells from all those hard-boiled eggs around your plants to ward off snails and slugs.

  15. Kristian says:

    Love this post and all the little things in life. I’m just loving having set routines with our 6 mo. baby (our first). Makes me feel like we are starting to figure things out, though we know he and we will keep on changing.

  16. Renee says:

    Ok, I clearly need a steamer and pretty drawers for my desk! (And maybe an instant pot)
    For me it’s: Pretty nail polish, swimming lessons, and Mel Joulwan’s blog & Well Fed weeknights!

  17. Meghan says:

    I feel about LaCroix the way you feel about Spindrift – and I also have a Sodastream! LaCroix is a treat purchase for me.
    My mundane thing I love is my electric pencil sharpener! I’ve had it for 6 months and still love it so much. There’s nothing like a jar of freshly sharpened pencils to make my day 🙂

  18. Anne says:

    I wish la croix came in a sampling pack. Or does it? I’ve not heard of your favorite brand. Hmmmmm…..will have to look. Those sparkling ice/frost drinks were saving my life for a while, but I know it has sucralose, argh.

    • Lisa Z says:

      I’ve seen sampling packs of LaCroix at Costco and my local grocery stores. I just buy several kinds at once and love most of them, myself. But the sampling pack is a good deal to try new flavors.

  19. Jennifer says:

    Right there with you on the instant pot eggs! I’ve been making a batch every week and I love how easy they are to peel!!

  20. Kristine Yahn says:

    My adult children and their children all care about social justice and the environment. It’s satisfying as I approach the age of 70.

  21. Jen C says:

    I feel like I’m missing something with the Instant Pot. We bought one a couple of years ago because the reviews sounded like it would be a life-altering appliance. We used it a few times and were pretty underwhelmed with the results and felt a little misled about cook times as most of them fail to mention how long it takes to bring it up to pressure, etc. Then, it just stopped sealing (out of warranty, of course). So many people love theirs, I’m thinking about buying some replacement seals and giving it another try. Anyone have any pointers?

    • Susan says:

      I just got one on prime day, and I am right there with you on the misleading cooking times! Also, I’ve made 2 or 3 dinners, and so far nothing is any better than my crock pot produced. 🙁

    • Lisa Z says:

      Thank you both for saying this. I haven’t gone the Instant Pot route yet and am really hesitant to add yet another small appliance to my kitchen. Your comments have put me off buying one for a while anyway. It’s hard to resist all the positivity around it though! 🙂

  22. Jocelyn says:

    I love mangoes and can’t imagine being allergic to them. For a while I thought I was, as I would invariably get an awful, itchy rash around my mouth after eating them fresh – I’m talking about gnawing them right out of the peel, like an orange wedge. Then someone commented that the culprit might actually be something that’s sprayed on them. I hesitantly tried an organic mango, and sure enough, I was fine. Since then I have found that I don’t have any reaction if the mango is already cut up and in something, or in juice form. I just can’t go chewing the peel.

  23. Suzanne says:

    1. My tomato garden. I have never grown tomatoes before! Instant caprese salad and I have made gazpacho (its super easy) three times!
    2. Game of Thrones – Just love it
    3. Le Croix – Blackberry and Cucumber
    4. Now that our nest is empty – meeting my husband on a raft in the pool to cool off after a hot day and then sharing a bottle of sparkling rosé! #roseallday

  24. I am in our small rented summer cottage. In the village nearby there is a candy plant. As i am a diabetic i am so happy as they sell at least 12 differents sorts of sugerfree candy. The price is awesome and the taste is 5+. They also sell sugerfree icecream cones. This is so hard to find in my hometown. So happiness is my little 1room and kitchen cottage and to be here during summertime

  25. Mary Ann Garcia says:

    My go to drink this summer is an iced Mandarin Mimosa made with loose tea from Teavana served in an very tall insulated travel cup. It puts a smile on my face as I walk outside into rising temperatures.

  26. Steph says:

    I just found one of my favorite childhood books on ebay for about $7. It arrived at my house today, and I, in a flurry of happiness, exclaimed to my sister, “Look! It has a library punch card in the back from 1985!!” She thinks I’m nuts. I guess libraries are just my thing.

  27. Susan says:

    I love Instant Pot eggs! We get farm-fresh eggs from a neighbor and even they are incredibly easy to peel after a steam bath in the IP.

    On Sunday my 6 year old asked me to make deviled eggs (while I was elbow deep in a different project, of course). I had two hard boiled eggs in the fridge (I usually make a half dozen once a week and keep them in the fridge for quick breakfasts or snacks) and I told him that I would talk him through making them himself. He was so thrilled to mash the yolks, add mayo and mustard, and refilled the whites. He even insisted on sprinkling on paprika, and is now hounding me to make more hard boiled eggs so he can “devil” them.

    I guess I know what he’s going to take for lunch this school year!

  28. Lisa Z says:

    My favorite things this summer:
    1. I just discovered matcha lattes with hot water, a bit of almond milk, coconut oil, a scoop of bone broth powder, and a little maple syrup. Really tasty and more sustainable energy than coffee. Plus, really good for me!
    2. Grantchester on PBS. A swoon-worthy season this year.
    3. Keeping a journal of the wildlife we see visiting our backyard pond (we just moved into this house last December so seeing Great Blue Herons, owls, otters, deer, etc., is still very new and exciting to us).
    4. Your blog, Anne, and all the book recommendations from both you and your readers. I’m reading the Jane Austen Project right now and it’s so intriguing. Thank you!

  29. Deborah says:

    Water cups. How dumb is that? We spend a lot of time in the car over the summer. I got myself a few tervis cups with straws and just love the ease of sipping water while driving. However, no matter the amount of nagging, my kids never take anything and then always want to drink mine.
    I have finally gotten each of them a similar cup. Now, whenever we leave the house, I fill up four cups and out we go. Our drives are so much nicer now. The little things!

  30. Renee Brooke says:

    Your picture is lovely of your new filing cabinet under you desk and your new computer monitor riser. But, can you tell me where you got your desk? I love the sleek design and it goes perfect with that filing cabinet.

  31. Sophia says:

    Setting up my 4th Bullet journal. A 900+page book on my Kindle that I’m loving, recommended by you. Also those coins are a great color but I’m more interested in the rug they are sitting on. Those colors! Care to share?

  32. Nicole H. says:

    FYI: My costco told me they stopped carrying spindrift. I haven’t tried it yet, but am headed to TJ’s today. Sounds just my style. For those without an insta-pot you can steam eggs in a steamer basket with the same results – science courtesy of Cooks Illustrated.

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