I like to keep a list in my journal of the (mostly) little, everyday things bringing me a disproportionate amount of happiness these days. And I like to share a handful of these things with you occasionally—but I just realized it’s been ages since I have!
Let’s catch up with this little sampling of small things making me happy right now:
1. Michael Storrings puzzles
I bought my first Michael Storrings puzzle at the New York Public Library two years ago when I was in New York to record my Don’t Overthink It audiobook. (Does anyone remember when I got flagged by airport security because it looked like a suspicious item through the scanner?) At the time, it didn’t occur to me that other Storrings puzzles might be available, beyond the wintry NYPL scene I’d so enjoyed doing. (But I should mention: that one is harder than it looks!)
This winter we’ve been on a blissful Storrings binge around here. Will kicked it off when he gave me this Parisian scene for Christmas, and we’ve since done Cuba and this panoramic Cityscape. I can’t wait to start the Cherry Blossoms puzzle I stumbled upon at St Louis’s Left Bank Books earlier this week, and next up I’m eyeing this glittery Moonlight Skaters puzzle.
Have you worked any great puzzles lately? Please tell us in comments!
Thanks for your great suggestions on what to watch in this edition of Links I Love. They’ve led us to some great stuff, and our family favorite—for my crew aged 12-16 and then 40-something-year-olds— is Abbott Elementary. (We’re watching on Hulu.)
This workplace comedy set inside a Philadelphia public school, and focusing primarily on the staff and their relationships, unfolds in 22-minute episodes. It’s funny and warm-hearted and we all love it.
3. Hot water bottles
This is not a new discovery: after visiting Scotland with its ubiquitous tea kettles and hot water bottles (in every inn, lobby, or even bookstore we encountered), we came home and bought our own. But then during the warmer months we forget they exist, and fail to pull them out again in the fall when the weather gets nippy.
But last month we got back in the habit. I’m not sure if this article Will found reminded us how great they were, or if it finally somehow dawned on me that my toes don’t have to be nippy just because it’s cold outside, but whatever the reason, we’re enjoying them.
4. Wine glasses
I got Will some quality glasses for his birthday back in December and y’all, they’re SO MUCH BETTER than our 75-cent IKEA glasses. Who knew? (You probably did.)
If you have no idea what I’m talking about: the bowl of a well-made wine glass completely changes the smell of the wine, which then completely changes the taste. (The first time we did a side-by-side comparison of new vs. old glasses we could barely believe the difference.)
After a fair amount of research I landed on these Gabriel-Glas wine glasses. (I bought ours on Wayfair but they don’t seem to be available there now.)
5. Tea, lots of tea, so much tea
We love a good glass of wine, but we mostly drink tea. I’ve my shared my love of tea before, but it’s winter and worth saying again: cold, grey days are better with hot beverages. I’m a longtime fan of Harney’s hot cinnamon spice (I get the decaf), and this winter I’ve also been drinking tons of mint from Rishi, Trader Joe’s, and assorted brands from holiday gift baskets. I’m generally picky about my tea, but easy to please when it comes to mint varieties.
6. Anything that helps manage winter dry skin
My skin gets terribly dry come winter, and using the right products, religiously, makes a huge difference in my day-to-day comfort level. It’s not great for your mood when you’re literally uncomfortable in your skin. I’m currently loving some new-to-me this season products from Glossier, especially the Body Hero Dry-Touch Oil Mist paired with the Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream.
7. An itty bitty eye shadow palette
Back in November I gifted myself one of the Sephora holiday sets (its theme was bestselling beauty, though it’s unavailable right now) and I’ve been using the included three-color eye shadow palette nearly every day. The colors suit me, but I think the main thing is it’s EASY.
The brand is Natasha Denona; it’s a mini version of their well-known Biba palette (which contains WAY too many options for my makeup-challenged self to use!). The real magic here, I suspect, is that my go-to little baby palette only contains three colors I know exactly what to do with. No fuss, no hassle, no overthinking.
8. New-to-us books, and new books on the way.
I have a 12-year-old who can devour a chapter book in an evening, so keeping him in good books is TOUGH. That’s why stumbling upon a new series—with its built-in answers to “what should I read next?”—is such a joy. And right now he’s loving the Alex Rider (Bookshop | Amazon) series by Anthony Horowitz. Yes, the same Anthony Horowitz who wrote Magpie Murders! He’s also excited to dig into the new book in the City Spies series (Bookshop | Amazon) by James Ponti. My younger two kids LOVE that series for late elementary and middle grade readers.
As for myself, I was thrilled to hear we have new books to look forward to from Maggie O’Farrell (Bookshop | Amazon) come September 6 and Taylor Jenkins Reid (Bookshop | Amazon) on August 30. So many good books to look forward to this summer!
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: 9 (mostly) little things I’m loving lately: kitchen edition, 8 (mostly) little things I’m loving for early fall, 9 little things I’m loving this September, 6 things I’m loving for early summer, 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.