I like to keep a list in my bullet journal of the (mostly) little, everyday things bringing me a disproportionate amount of happiness these days. A recent sampling:
1. Lenten roses.
Or any kind of low-maintenance, long-lasting, happy-making perennial. We inherited some of these (formally known as hellebores) when we moved into our new-to-us old house last winter, and they bloom weeks before anything else in our yard. It’s ninety-something degrees as I type, but I can remember how glorious these first blooms looked back in the dreary winter.
And then … they keep on blooming. Months later, they still look good. Ours ring an old tree in our backyard, perfect because they love light shade. We came by ours accidentally but I might add more on purpose.
2. New-to-me pens.
You know I’m a pen geek, right? My friend and fellow pen geek introduced me to some new-to-me fineliners and I love them. They’re easy to write with, make my handwriting look good (no small feat), and come in a slew of interesting colors. And then I found out that—as far as good pens go—they are cheap.
3. Easy chicken recipes.
This list of easy chicken dinners is saving my life right now. As is Deb Perelman’s Street Cart Chicken and Rice from Smitten Kitchen Every Day. If you’ve come to my house for dinner in the past few months, this is what we ate. If you’re coming to my house for dinner this summer, this is probably what we’ll eat. If it’s Tuesday night and we’re all home and I failed to plan ahead that week, this is what we’ll probably have for dinner, because everybody loves it.
On my list of 100 dreams, I said I wanted to “find and perfect a signature dish.” We’ll see if this sticks, but maybe I’ve found it? (Does it still count if it’s dead simple and someone else’s popular recipe? Please say yes.)
I have no idea if that’s a word; I just made it up. But I’m loving the inspiration and advice I’m getting from Instagram about my plants—both inside and out—these days. The #Plantstagram folks have identified my inherited perennials, taught me how to care for my bargain houseplant finds at Home Depot, and helped me not overwater my fiddle leaf fig.
A favorite follow is @hiltoncarter, who shares both happy houseplant advice and regular photos of his ridiculously awesome urban jungle (nearly 300 plants in one small space. I also love @forageplants, the account for a local Louisville plant shop (on Frankfort Avenue, for you locals). They offer info on sales and new products, sure, but they also share amazing stories with tips on plant care, troubleshooting, and propagation.
I am no beauty or skincare expert, but my skin care-obsessed friends have raved about the monthly beautyfix subscription box from Dermstore. I hear falling down the skin care/hair care/beauty rabbit hole can be expensive, but this isn’t an interest I’m interested in shelling out a bunch of cash for. Enter the beautyfix box. When I saw this month’s offerings—particularly the sunscreens—I decided to give it a try.
I have super sensitive skin, and have a hard time finding products that don’t cause a nasty rash. (TMI? Seriously, it’s gross.) I’ve had good luck with mineral sunscreens and powder sunscreens, but they’re expensive. (My favorite powder sunscreen is $30. It lasts forever, but still!) The June beautyfix box contains a brush-on sunscreen from Colorescience and Nia24 mineral sunscreen. These are pricey products: each, on their own, cost more than the $24.95 box, so I ordered the box.
I’m not sure who I am anymore, because getting a shipment full of sunscreens and lotions and hair products was really, really fun. And on the practical side, I was impressed by the cost/value ratio.
6. Bongo Coffee.
Recently a friend told me it was kind of ridiculous how much she loved her morning coffee. I didn’t think she was ridiculous: I love my morning coffee‚ too, and a daily ritual is a little thing that’s kind of a big deal, right?
As a decaf drinker (that whole sad story is here), I struggle with finding a steady supply of interesting beans. (Something I’ve learned since I quit caffeine: most decaf is dark roast, and I’m not a fan.)
When I travel, I’m always on the lookout for coffee shops with interesting decaf. Last month I was in Nashville, and at the recommendation of a friend, stopped in at Bongo Java by Belmont on my way out of town. I got my Americano, beans for Will (easy peasy, as always), and took a chance on their Decaf Bongo Blend beans for me. It was fantastic, and I can order more online. I don’t know if I will, but I like to know I can.
What (mostly) little things are bringing YOU a disproportionate amount of happy lately? I’d love to hear in comments.
P.S. Previous editions of little things I’m loving: 6 (mostly) little things I’m loving this spring, 5 late fall/early winter favorites, 7 little January favorites, 9 October favorites, and 7 not terribly exciting things making me really happy these days.