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. James Ponti books. Every once in a while my kids stumble upon a new-to-them author or a great series and it makes them—and me!—so happy. They’re reading great books, and I don’t have to do the work of finding them.
Recently my youngest two (ages 10 and 12) blew through the Framed series by James Ponti—which also resulted in the cutest school project. So imagine my delight when this past weekend at SIBA I bumped into the author himself. My kids were over the moon. And I won Mother of the Year—at least in my kids’ eyes—because I returned home with an advance copy (signed and personalized!) of his March 2020 release City Spies.
2. This dress. I’m ready for fall clothes, but the thermostat says we’re nowhere close to sweater weather. This dress is a great compromise: feels like summer, looks like fall. Easy to wear, easy to wash, unfussy and friendly.
3. Tamale pie, because it is fall in my heart and I am ready for a seasonal shift in the kitchen as well. This favorite recipe from Pam Anderson’s cookbook Perfect One-Dish Dinners is mostly made on the stove, so it doesn’t heat up the house much, but it feels like fall comfort food. We serve this with some kind of slaw (keep reading!) so it still feels seasonally appropriate, even when it’s 100 degrees out.
4. Monarch Coffee. When my family was in Kansas City last spring, we visited so many great coffee shops—and to my delight, it’s easy-peasy to order online from KC’s Monarch
I’m a decaf drinker, which suits me fine, but I do get weary of the same old options. That’s why I love to bring home beans when I travel, so I can have some variety at home. I loved Monarch’s light-roasted decaf—something that’s surprisingly hard to find, because most decafs are roasted very, very dark—and now that I’m back home, I can still have it delivered to my door in Kentucky.
A note to you lucky people who can tolerate caffeine: I’m the decaf drinker, but my husband also enjoys trying some new regular beans from Monarch as well. (If you’re in the decaf boat with me, you may want this list of 45 sources for great decaf coffee.)
5. Vinegar slaw with cucumbers and dill. This summer I found and fell in love with this simple recipe from the first Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I love it, my kids love it, it goes with all kinds of summer and fall dishes. And it’s so inexpensive to make.
6. Superhero summer. Readers, I have plenty of friends who rush right out to the theaters every time a new superhero movie comes out, and I never really saw the appeal. But then again, I’d never actually watched one. And then this summer one of our kids came home begging to watch Guardians of the Galaxy. Do you know how hard it is to find a movie six people aged 9 to grown-up will all enjoy? But everyone liked Guardians of the Galaxy, or at least liked it well enough. That’s especially impressive because that was the wrong place to start in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After that, we all wanted to see the next one, and the next one. And so we called it our superhero summer, and attempted to make it through the entire catalog.
We didn’t, but we’re close. (Endgame is in our sights!) If you have a favorite, I’d love to hear about it in comments.
7. Houseplants. I know you’re shocked! To solidify my plant lady status, I brought home an actual tree I’ve been coveting, turned a not-quite-right wall in the dining room into a plant wall, successfully propagated my first philodendron and pothos clippings, and while I resisted buying yet another inexpensive fiddle leaf fig at Trader Joe’s, I did talk two customers into giving one a try, and sent them on their way with pointers on how to care for their new plant babies.
8. Wavy hair. I’m pretty no-fuss when it comes to hair and makeup, but summer hair is particularly challenging. When it’s 90 degrees and a zillion percent humidity, my hair doesn’t want to be straight, but it doesn’t want to be curly, either. The easiest thing to do would be to curl it, but I have no skills.
Out of frustration, I decided to finally try a tool I’ve been eyeing for years, one of those rotating curling irons. Mine is from Beachwaver, it’s the 1.25″ barrel, and I love it.
My hair doesn’t hold curl well, and I didn’t wish to invest a lot of time learning how to do my hair, so when I bought it I thought it was entirely possible I’d return it right away. But it works great, and I can curl all my hair—and I’ve got a lot of it—in five minutes flat. Wavy hair is a small thing, but it makes me happy.
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: 8 (mostly) little things I’m loving for mid-summer, 9 little things I’m loving this September, 6 things I’m loving for early summer, 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.