In a comment yesterday, Lori asked “Hey, where does one purchase happiness?? Kind of a random question, but I’m almost done with the tour, and I’m still not sure where to go…” Well, Lori, you may not have been expecting this, but I’ll tell you where I buy happiness. Although I haven’t been participating in Mel’s Happiness Challenges, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the things that make me happy, and trying to pay close attention to those little things that I encounter that make me smile. So here’s where I shop:
- B.roadway Brand full coverage glue-on artifical nail, real short and square — $5.26 at Mal-Warts, Tarjay, or your local drug store. Having a beautiful manicure always makes me happy, and these are the best things that I’ve found. All the girls at my office use this particular brand, and swear by them. I personally can get two sets of wear out of the nails included in the kit, so my effective cost per manicure is about $2.50. They last a little over a week. Oh, and you should probably add $1.88 for a bottle of acetone to get them off without killing your nails.
- Mocha with whipped cream — $3.50ish from your favorite local coffee shop. I love me some good coffee, and a mocha with whipped cream is my beverage of choice. My favorite place here in town is a locally-owned shopped called Aromas, and they also have the best cinnamon rolls that I’ve ever tasted. As I’ve been trying to eat healthier lately, I don’t indulge as much as I would like to, but this was my personal treat for blood-draw mornings. Manly and I are also very keen on going to the local chain bookstore around 9:00 at night and getting a coffee and browsing for an hour or two.
- Cross-stitching — $varies. I bought a pattern book to make Christmas ornaments, thread, and plastic canvas for less than $20. I also have a big project that is sitting at around $75 for all the materials so far. It really depends on what you want to do. Stitching is something that I learned from my mother, and I still love to spend a weekend just curled up on the sofa with my needle and cloth. I can listen to movies or music and just really focus on the growing design in front of me. It allows me to totally block out the rest of the world and just be for a while.
- Christmas ornaments — <$7.00. I am a christmas ornament whore. I have too many already, but I just can’t help but be lured in by little twinkling bits of shiny metal and glass wrapped in ribbon or cloth. I try to limit myself to the ones that I really, really like, but it makes me happy just to go out and browse the shops during this time of year. To look at the display trees and the ornaments clustered together on hooks and to contemplate the possibility that they represent. They are something that I could have if I chose — but it’s my choice whether to take them home or not.
- Holiday recipe magazines — $2.95. We host Manly’s family for Thanksgiving every year, and it’s something that I love doing. I enjoy the cooking, the cleaning, the decorating, the fancy china on the table, the smell of good food wafting through the house, curling up on the sofa to watch a movie afterwards, the conversation for hours … all of it. So I start buying holiday recipe magazines looking for yummy new recipes to try as soon as they show up on the shelves.
- I.lluminations candles — $20.00ish from the website. There used to be a store in B’ham, but it closed down, so now I’m limited to the website. The candles are wonderfully scented and last forever. My favorites are camomile tea (discontinued, but I have a couple tucked away for special occasions), eggnog, and coffee and cream. Manly likes the chestnut and pear. I try to keep one or two out constantly to make the house smell nice, and it makes me feel all warm and squishy inside to walk into a warm pool of scent around a flickering candle.
- CDs of music from when I was in college and high school — $13.99. Music is my form of therapy; listening to someone else’s words about pain and loss and love and happiness helps me clarify my own thoughts and feelings. I spent my childhood and college career struggling for money, and I never seemed to have enough to buy all the music that marked key moments in my life. Now that I am in a position to buy a CD just because I feel like it, I’ve been picking up the ones that I’ve wanted for years and listening to those songs all over again. My most recent purchases were Drops of Jupiter by Train and the 10th Anniversary Soundtrack to Romeo + Juliet. I haven’t listened to anything else in two weeks, and I am not tired of either one yet.
I will admit though that there are a lot of things that money doesn’t buy. Or more accurately, I find happiness in things that are free. Some of my no-money solutions:
- Sleeping in fresh sheets. There is NOTHING like the feeling of curling up in a freshly made bed.
- The smell of the bathroom at the gym. No, I’m not kidding! The showers at our gym are stocked with excellent-smelling soap in the dispensers, and that smell permeates the entire bathroom. It just makes the whole room smell fresh and clean.
- Sitting on the back porch with Manly watching the dog and talking. Need I say anything more?
- Cleaning the entire house from top to bottom. The idea of feng shui has always appealed to me, because I think there is a lot of psychological validity behind it. Having a clean house where everything is in its place makes me feel more calm and grounded in the space. So I actually enjoy scrubbing counters and polishing furniture and vacuuming carpets.
- Playing with the digital camera. Okay, so the camera wasn’t free. But now that it’s paid for, I can mess around with lighting and white balance and shutter speeds and all that crap and not spend a thing. It doesn’t matter how many pictures I screw up either, because I can just delete them and try again.
- Walking outside. The heat has finally broken down here, and the temperature has dropped down back to where it should be. The leaves are starting to turn, and it’s so pleasant and brisk outside in the evenings. It’s happy-making just to walk through my neighborhood and look at the light filtering through the trees, and know that life really is pretty good.
- Emailing/talking to old friends. My 10th high school reunion is next year, so I’ve been spending time on my.space looking for people that I used to know. It’s helped me get back in touch with people I haven’t talked to in years, and it makes me happy to find them again and remember why we were friends in the first place.
So there you go. That’s where I’ve been finding happiness lately, whether purchased or free. Anybody else want to share their happy places?