33 things that make me happy

By Caitlin Kelly


Lunch with a friend that lasts until dinner


Any film starring Kristen Stewart or Michelle Williams


Big band music


Maja soap



A pot of tea


Fresh flowers in every room


Diner rice pudding


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Anticipating the next journey, whether a weekend road-trip or somewhere distant


Speaking and hearing French


Reading design and interiors magazines, in print, especially English and French ones


Sitting in a movie theater, with popcorn, waiting for the film to start


A snooze on the sofa


Playing Banangrams and gin rummy (not simultaneously!)


Taking a canoe out for a solo ride




Unscheduled time


Trimming jib




Setting a pretty table for a party



Lighting candles


The delicious sillage of someone’s very crisp cologne






The “blue hour” of dusk when the sky is a deep indigo and everything else silhouetted against it


Sleeping beneath a puffy duvet on a frigid winter’s night


A crackling fire in a weathered fireplace


Saying hello to and patting passing dogs


Staring for a long time at a painting in a museum or gallery


Browsing for hours in an indie bookstore


A very cold, very dry gin martini, straight up, with olives


I love patina! This is the doorknob to our friend’s home in Maine


Old, well-made and well cared for objects, the earlier the better, especially textiles, glass and porcelain


Reading and choosing recipes


Making someone’s day easier


The work of Finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti


The stunning opening chords ofย  Tschaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C


Playing vinyl


What are some of yours?

35 thoughts on “33 things that make me happy

  1. I didn’t know Kristen Stewart had fans outside of Twilight fans.

    Some things I love is: some good sushi. A trip to this Japanese strip mall near Ohio State. Hanging out with friends from high school. Watching YouTube videos from my favorite creators. An exciting audio book. And sleeping in on the weekend.

    Among other things.

  2. Great list. I always say hello to dogs. Why wouldnโ€™t you? ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Paris is my favourite place in this whole wide World, and I find listening to spoken French really comforting.
    As for big band music – when the big band kicks in on a Sinatra track the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

  3. you always have the most amazing lists, full of interesting choices. some of mine are – days with no schedule to keep, warm and lazy floats on the water, fresh coffee with a swirl of cream, a piece of warm baguette torn from the loaf, a pile of books waiting to be read, all kinds of music to go with my moods, photographs, fresh paper and a pen that feels just right in my hand…

  4. This is such a lovely post, Caitlin, what a great idea! Some of mine are the same as yours (reading magazines, anticipating the next adventure, browsing for hours in independent bookshops), and others are things like walking on an empty beach (preferably in the Hebrides!); the sound of Gaelic, in conversation or song; sipping a really good cup of coffee; being up early enough to see the sunrise… the list goes on!

  5. I like a nice cup of strong tea with milk and sugar, along with a couple slices of hard, crusty bread and a massive clod of butter on each. While we’re eating, I also like a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.
    I like guitar shopping. Like most guitar players I know, I’m pretty fickle. This is mostly because I can’t afford a large collection, so If I want something new, I’m going to have to trade up for it. But going to the music store or pawn shop is always a lot of fun. It’s like going to the dance and all the girls are willing to dance with me even if I’m not handsome or if I can’t dance very well. (I’m actually a terpsichorean genius and handsome beyond description, not to mention completely humble and self-effacing.)
    I also like reading your posts. Thanks a lot.

    1. Ohhhh, yes to the tea — and the bread and the butter. I’m partial to tuna melts.

      Guitar shopping sounds very cool. I haven’t played mine in years (must create calluses.)

      I think terpsichorean genius is your new band name…


  6. Great list. And you’re right – often the unobtrusive things are what make us happy, if only we can recognise them – I can’t help thinking that as a society we are barraged so often by efforts to correlate ‘happiness’ with ‘owning commercial products’ that many of the real pleasures in life – such as a glorious sunset, that moment when the sky flushes red and the world stills – are lost. For myself there is much of the ‘small’ that I find positive; the sunset gloaming and the first scent of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning are among them.

    1. So true.

      I live near a reservoir that has a small (?!) cone-shaped-roof hut in the middle, like some out-take from Giselle…every time I see it, it makes me happy.

      That smell of coffee…mmmmmm.

      If we can’t savor the small things, we’ll live in anticipatory misery, because the big things, de facto, come along much less often.

  7. The heft of a good book in my hands, my favorite perfume, that first sip of wine when out to a fabulous meal, my dog’s contented breathing beside me, the sight of my sons in their beds with feet poking out from the covers:). Thanks for helping with the focus on gratitude today!

      1. Ooooh, nice. I don’t know that one.

        I wear a few…Chanel No. 5, O de Lancome and 2 men’s fragances — Terre by Hermes and Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet. I like to have what’s called (!?) a fragrance wardrobe.

        I also love a VERY hard to find scent called Tiempe Passate.

  8. Pingback: If You Want to Write, Read | Practically Twisted: A Functional Approach to the Art of Yoga

  9. I found your blog through practically twisted and your post made me smile. It is truly the simple things in life that make it worth living. Thank you so much for the warm smile and for inspiring me to write my own list. It would be great to have one on a gloomy day to cheer one’s soul up

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