In an attempt to approximate the sensation of climbing into a bed with fresh sheets, biting into a sandwich someone else made for you, opening the dishwasher to see that someone already unloaded it, or the rush of endorphins on a morning walk, I am going to share a few things that bring me joy. A little bit of kitchen stuff, a little bit of health stuff, and a couple of other things.

 

A steep and wooded trail in Vermont with sunlight peeking through the trees.

  1. Bees Knees Salted Honey – I bought it at a store nearby that I love called Healthy Living. It isn’t super salty, but every time I squeeze it onto a piece of toast or drizzle it over chicken I feel like I am using liquid gold.
  2. Chipotle Fabanaise – This is another Healthy Living find. I am not vegan, but this is.  They make incredible mustards too. This is creamy with a little bit of kick. I sometimes add more sriracha and dip carrots in it. Sean looks on in horror.
  3. Ginger Root – I love having one of these guys knocking about in the kitchen. I grate it and put it in tea, shave some to add a little mystery to a soup, and honestly, sometimes I just look at it on the butcher block and think, “I bought that for myself” and I remember I matter.
  4. Wood shavings – This winter Sean helped his mom make a candle holder from a birch log. He brought me the shavings from the log and they were like Martha Stewart meets Bear Grylls wonderful for fire starter. He had the girls package up three containers for me for Christmas and I sprinkle them in the woodstove.
  5. Castor Oil – I bought it to use for a thing I had this fall and then it sat. One day I began putting it on my feet after I showered. It’s kind of amazing and I no longer feel shame about hard feet.
  6. Pretty Matches – This is exactly what it sounds like. When my parents stayed at our camp they bought a couple of boxes of matches to have by the woodstove. One has a goose and the other a lamb, I think. They are whimsical to look at and, when I take one out to strike it, they are about an inch and a half longer than regular matches. These aren’t the exact ones I have, but they’re close. What can I say, they make me feel fancy!
  7. Kombucha – Sean says it tastes like despondence, failure, and rotten vinegar. My favorite flavor is ginger. This company is located in Vermont and has ties to Oregon, so it felt like fate for this Oregon-born, Vermont-loving girl.
  8. Vibrant Belts – The ones I love are called Tech Web Belts. We buy the men’s version, ok, scratch that, Sean buys them for himself and then I wear them. We have red, silver, sage, orange, and green. He bought me an aqua version for Christmas. He has borrowed it! Anyway, they are super sturdy, handsome, and, if you are in this neck of the woods I recommend buying them at FSO. You might even get to meet Algonquin, the sweet bundle of Golden Retriever goodness that recently joined the fam.
  9. Glytone skin products – Stuff that doesn’t make my skin break out or dry out is tough to find. I love this stuff. I have done ZERO searches on if it’s full of bad stuff, don’t ruin this one for me. My skin gets freshened up and feels healthier. My favorites are in the Rejuvenation series. I did not buy it as a set, just ordered here and there.
  10. Hello and goodbye kisses – A few months ago Sean and I were having ships in the night, overstressed, strangers in the same house kind of stuff. He said, “What if we both commit to kissing one another when we first see each other or when we are leaving? We should be able to manage that, right?” We could, we did, we have, it works!
  11. Wide-Tooth Comb – Having a wide-tooth comb in the shower has changed my life. A tiny thing, but effective.
  12. Stocked Bird Feeders – Everyone in this house loves it when there are birds eating from the feeders. The cats, the girls, Beso, even Sean will gasp, “Look, the blue jay, the black squirrel, and the cardinal are in the tree together!”
  13. Voluntarily Extended Bedtimes Routines – This isn’t something I can do all the time, but when I make the decision to not rush and instead free myself to the rhythm of the stories, cuddles, and requests, I always end up better for it.

 

I don’t know if any of this will change anyone’s life, but I do think to take a look at what things consistently bring you joy is a worthwhile exercise. It’s surprising how much of what pleases me is related to ceremony and ritual. I want to remember that because it means that happy doesn’t appear in a minute, but lives in the layers and echoes of repetition.

What makes you happy?