Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Happiness Challenge

tumblr_ks92ywfS1m1qztsrto1_500_large {we heart it}

So my sweet friend Rachel, tagged me in a blog post, and a secretly did my own happy dance, because I’ve always wanted to be tagged in one of those things.  As she described having to tag a friend in the post, I scrolled down thinking, “pick me…pick me…pick me…yesssssss, she picked me!”  Side note about my competitive-psychoness: In first grade, I had this crazy teacher who gave out a “student of the year” award (who the heck does that in FIRST GRADE?!) and it was based on how many stars you had on the chart on the wall.  (Yes, she publically posted stars so we could all see who was beating who.  Can you say PSYCHO?!)  Anyway, I was totally in the lead before I was out sick for three weeks with the chicken pox (on my birthday I should add.  Major suckiness for a first grader.)  When I came back to school, I’d fallen behind in the sticker stars and she wouldn’t let me make up the daily math quizzes to earn some potential stars.  Three weeks later, we had our end of the year program and the “student of the year”  award was handed out in front of the whole school and all the parents.  As she called another first grader’s name to receive the best student ever award, I cried hysterically on stage in front of everyone, coveting the public recognition.  It was horrible, scarring, and the start of my competitive-psychoness and need for reinforcement.  Dang you Ms. McMahon.

But anyway…back to my happiness post (just thought you all should know that my craziness is totally warranted lol) I must tell you something about Rachel.  She takes FABULOUS pictures.  For proof check out some of my favorite images that she captured during Matt and I’s engagement/wedding.





Like I said.  She is the shiz.  Seriously, I love her and think she is insanely talented.  Her professional blog is here (our wedding post is here.)  She’s is the bomb.  Yes, I really just said “the bomb.”  I break out the big guns for her.  Anyway (do I always ramble this much?) the happiness challenge was to make a list of 10 things that make me happy, and do at least one of those things today.  It was a challenge to create this list, not because I can’t think of things that make me happy, but because I had trouble getting the list down to 10.  In the end, I made it (well technically, I got it to 12, but who’s counting…)

My Happiness List (in no particular order)

1. Hanging out with my BFF and little brother Ryan.  Even if you’ve only read this blog a handful of times, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am slightly obsessed with my brother.  (If not, read here or here for a quick refresher.)  There is no one else in the world who I’ve laughed more, louder, or harder with.  My mom said to my dad once as my brother and I chatted, “Do you ever feel like this is their world and we’re visiting?”  Haha, we do speak our own language and get each other without having to say much at all, so how can I not be happy when I’m around the little dude?

2.  Candles.  I have two pieces are furniture that are dedicated to housing my candle collection.  It’s a serious addiction, and I can admit it without the slightest bit of shame.  If I am home for more than 15 minutes, I will light at least 1, if not the all of 30 candles in our apartment.  Sure it might look like a séance, but I love the instant coziness candles give.  Plus, the hunt for good candles at a bargain price is another source of happiness in itself.

3.  Turning on the TV and seeing my DVR has caught an episode of Criminal Minds that I haven’t yet seen.  I gasp, do a fist pump, and then hunker down for an hour of total awesomeness.  Seriously, me and the BAU team are like this (fingers crossed.)

4.  Celebrating the small stuff.  In my family, we celebrated everything, no matter how big or how small.  Every year on the last day of school, my parents would print out a banner with something like, “See ya second grade, hello third grade!”  We celebrated Valentines Day as a family with heart shaped pizza, we celebrated St. Patty’s Day with a green dinner where my mom would add green food coloring to everything (yes, we had green milk and green mashed potatoes, and yes, it was awesome), and when my mom was pregnant with my brother, we had a “congrats you’re gonna be a big sister” celebration.  I’ve translated this into my “adult life” having parties to celebrate Matt’s first solo publication, friends getting accepted into various programs and internships, and having a 100 followers party.  Life is short, celebrate the small stuff!

5.  Finding an old mix cd. In college, it was the cool thing to do to make your friends mix cd or mark a special occasion or roadtrip with its own soundtrack.  Though that idea has now evolved into an iPod playlist, there is nothing like finding an old mix cd stuffed at the bottom of your car console, desk drawer, or suitcase.  I found one from my junior year in college last week and was literally rocking out like a crazy person to Wilson Phillips, old school Gwen Stefani, and early 50 Cent.  I saw three people laugh at me as I was driving, no joke.  It was awesome and has not left my cd player in my car since. 

6.  Ballerinas.  Ballerinas are like magical Barbie dolls in my eyes.  Graceful, unique, and captivating.  I was a dancer for most of my life and there was always an overwhelming sense of joy when I was on stage.  Now that I’m semi-grown up and my body can’t bend like it used to, I remain captivated by all that is ballet.

7.  Pillowtalk.  One of my favorite moments of the day is when Matt and I settle down and head to bed.  Our schedules are crazy and sometimes we aren’t able to see a lot of each other during the day (or night if one of us is writing or reading for school.)  But on those nights where we venture to bed at the same time, I love chatting about our days and laughing about something that happened earlier in the day.  They’re simple moments, but certainly some of my favorites.

8.  Tiny, local restaurants.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trip to Chili’s or Olive Garden once in a while, but sweet, small, hole in the wall restaurants just warm my heart.  I don’t know if it’s the people, the food, the cozy atmosphere, or the feeling that the spot is someone’s pride and joy, but something about these places makes me really happy.  Matt and I have our own spot where we live, and it’s so special to us, we got engaged just outside of it, on a wooden bench. 

9.  Shopping.  I can’t lie, it really does make me happy.  Shallow and silly, maybe, but I really really really love shopping.  Though our budget doesn’t always allow for it, when it does, I’m totally there.  Nordstrom, Banana, Anthro, and J.Crew are my first stops should I make this particular happiness venture.  Online shopping does not fall into this catagory; it just doesn’t do it for me (which makes my bank account happy!)

10.  Snail Mail.  Though it’s almost a thing of the past, I work hard to keep it current for my friends and family.  I love browsing for cards and finding a card that was made for a certain friend.  I often buy cards months ahead of time and have created this giant expandable folder-box-thingie for all my cards.  My mom gave me this happiness gene because I got cards for just about everything growing up (see #4), and I always felt so appreciated and loved.

11.  Coke.  (For those of you who aren’t from the south, Coca-Cola.)  The red can, the sweet fizziness…nothing is better.  Plain and simple.

12.  Having friends and family who know your heart.  Nothing needs to be said, time can pass, hundreds of miles exist between you, yet they know you, they get it, and you feel it.  Friendships like this are precious and I’m so lucky to have a handful in my life. 

Just typing those twelve things made me happy!  So just as Rachel passed it on to me, now, I must pass it on to someone else.  Who will it be…(is your Ms. McMahon inspired competitive-psychoness kicking in yet?)  Just kidding.  I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who is that nutty.  I’m tagging two of my sweet friends (blog and real life) to see what makes them happy… 

Kelsey from Stuck in the Sticks, who has an insanely beautiful talent as well as a competitive-psychoness similar to mine,  and Kendall from The Stoy's Story who is one of my sweet tell it like it is friends and is about to be a new mommy.  And for anyone else out there who also wants to take the happiness challenge, I tag you as well!  Go for it and let me know what you come up with!


Juliana said...

This was one of my favorite blog posts EVER! First of all, your pictures are incredible and you are so beautiful both inside and out. Your happiness list was so similiar to mine and I really enjoyed reading it!

prettyface said...

I really enjoyed reading this cute little list :-)

I especially loved that you and your family celebrate the smallest events. When I have a family I want to do this.

Pink Champagne said...

So sweet! I just got a warm-fuzzy, cozy feeling reading this post. :)

Jessica said...

What an awesome post! I love this idea. Its always good to remember all you are thankful for.

Kinsey Michaels said...

Your wedding/engagement photos are amazing, you looked so pretty!

And I loved reading your list, that is so cute the way your family celebrated everything growing up. And I completely agree with on pillowtalk, and on tiny local restaurants! Great list girly!


Stuck in the Sticks said...

Aw hooray for the shout out! I will keep this going today on my blog. Love you friend!!

dad said...

Great list. I, too, enjoy snail mail. There is something special about receiving a tangible reminder that someone is thinking about you. I personally like to send postcards.

Jessica said...

I just discovered your blog & upon reading this post knew I must become a follower! I recently posted this same picture, seems so simple right? :) Love it!