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:
I’m a pen geek, and I have a few brands that take turns as my current favorite. For three months at a time, I’ll prefer the Flairs, or Staedtler Fineliners, or, most recently, Sharpie pens. (Click here to see many of my favorites.) But lately no pen has held the primary spot; I’ve been in a pencil kind of mood.
Several years ago, Will and I popped into CW Pencil Enterprise while we were in NYC. (Warning: enter this store (or its website) with caution because you may completely fall down the graphite rabbit hole, as I did.) We came home with pencils, of course, and then I signed up for the Pencil Box subscription, and now I’m such a fan that I carry a pencil in my purse with a special little cap to keep it from stabbing everything.
This Apsara (extra strong/extra dark) is currently in my purse, with this pencil cap and this 15-cent eraser. Apsara’s two-toned matt magic line is another current favorite. And how cute are these days of the week pencils?
2. Letting Trader Joe’s do it.
This is going to sound ridiculous, but bottled salad dressing has made my life so much easier during these warm months.
Salad dressing is one of those things I feel like I should make myself. But the reality is I seldom do. And when I do make my own, it makes an absolute mess in the fridge (is there a way to keep olive oil from getting all over everything? Because the mason jars I use are not doing the trick).
I started buying the bottled stuff in the refrigerated section at Trader Joe’s, and it’s made my salad life so much easier. And since salad is a hot-weather lunchtime staple that’s a lot happiness for something as simple as salad dressing.
3. Our tiny garden.
We’ve tried for YEARS to grow our own summer produce, with various degrees of success in the small-to-middling range. But since we moved, our tiny garden has been going gangbusters. I don’t know if it’s the soil or the sun or just the right amount of benign neglect we’re providing, but our plants have taken off, for two years running.
Our zucchini plants died and so did the cucumbers, but we have tomatoes and jalapeños coming out our ears. They’re delicious, and we grew them ourselves, and that is a satisfying combination.
4. Doing it myself.
Will and I adore Trader Joe’s sweet and spicy pickled jalapeños and buy them several jars at a time because we go through them so quickly. But then summer rolled around, and two things happened: our garden went crazy, and with fresh produce everywhere, we started longing for a crispier option. So we’ve been making our own.
I like this recipe as a starting point, but haven’t ever followed it exactly (or even close). I slice the peppers into skinny rings, Trader Joe’s-style. I never want to put on gloves and slice up a dozen jalapeños but the results are worth it.
5. My book beau.
Several years ago, an internet book friend sent me a lovely gift, but I never quite got the hang of using it. It’s called a book beau, and it’s designed for those of you (you know who you are) who never leave home without a book. (Raises hand.) I slip them into my purse, but sometimes they get banged up—unless you slide them into a padded sleeve like this one. Kari said she made her first one because she didn’t want to ding up her library books, but you could use them for ANY kind of book, or even an ereader.
I’m a late adapter but this little thing makes me (and my now-pristine books) so happy.
6. Happy flowers.
Our yard is blooming with a half dozen varieties of flowers that might actually be weeds but I don’t care. They’re bright and cheerful and the hummingbirds and butterflies love them. We have bee balm and hollyhocks and Rose of Sharon and daisies; they all volunteered, and I’m happy they did. Add in the zinnias we planted on purpose and we are swimming in flowers this season.
7. An organized-ish closet.
Since we moved, our closet situation has been dicey. And by “our” I mean “me,” because Will’s side looks pretty great but mine looked like a tornado blew through. I was debating installing a pricey system when a friend suggested I start by buying a few bins or baskets to corral my stuff.
I bought three of these baskets (size large) from The Container Store, shuffled a few of the IKEA drawer dividers I’d been (inefficiently) using around, and now it’s not photo-worthy but it is 1000% better. Most importantly, I can see my stuff, and that is the only thing I care about at 6:00 am.
8. Parker Palmer in the morning and poetry before bed.
I’ve never been much of an early-morning reader, till now. I’ve been slowly working my way through Parker Palmer’s latest, which starts my day on a thoughtful, non-frantic note. And these past few weeks my days have been packed, and I’ve been worn out by bedtime. It’s felt too late to read a few chapters of something (always my preference), but reading just a few poems puts me in a peaceful frame of mind in much less time.
9. Necklaces with presence.
I tend to choose small, delicate jewelry for myself, but I’ve been working on choosing pieces that pop. It’s a journey, but it’s kind of fun, too. If you see me on book tour hopefully you’ll see what I’m talking about!
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 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.