Last Saturday was one of those perfect spring days you wait for all winter. Definitely a fluke, but one we gladly take. Warmth, light, and a sunset that makes you feel like the universe got that day just right.
I’m addicted to Etsy. I admit it. Lately, I’ve been spending money like a madman (woman?) on everything from gifts for Christmas to collars for Pick. Last week, though, I picked up two things for myself, and they are these (click to enlarge):
These prints come from the Gothicrow Etsy shop. This artist’s work is lovely and ethereal and sort of sad, and I had to have some of it in my home. I have always been fascinated with crows, the way their silhouettes create so much depth and drama in bare tree limbs, so her work spoke to me. The only trouble is, I can’t decide where to display it. So, check out the gothicrow shop, and maybe pick up a print or two-the holidays are just around the corner!
Look, it’s easy for us to dismiss the world, and our current state of affairs as less than savory. A lot of things DO suck, at the moment. That’s why it’s so important to nurture your own happiness, in whatever ways you can. Here are five things that give me joy, big and small. Try a few, or feel free to tell us in the comments section below what ranks highest on your happiness meter.
1)Take a picture everyday.
-There are a million different moments and memories waiting to be snapped every single day. It doesn’t matter if they’re poignant or pretty or well-composed. The idea is that you’re chronicling your life, and telling your own story. I think you’ll be surprised at what you capture. And you don’t need anything fancy to do so-whether you’ve got a point-and-shoot, a DSLR, or a cell phone-as they say, the best camera is the camera you have on you. If you’re really into it, start a blog, or a gallery to share it with others.
2)Tony Bennett’s “Winter Wonderland” as a mood enhancer.
-As it happens, I’m either usually irritated on my way to work, or not feeling so positive on my way home. My solution? Tony Bennett’s Christmas album, most notably the “Winter Wonderland” track. I consider this an upgrade from my former pick-me-up: Mariah Carey’s Christmas album (but I still love you, Mariah). Who cares if it’s the middle of summer? It makes me feel better. Give it a try-I promise you’ll come away happier. And if you don’t, you’re a total monster, and there’s no helping you, or that little black space where your heart used to be.
3)Develop your own soundtracks for life.
-How often have you thought, “God, life would be so much better with an accompanying soundtrack?” Or, if you’re like me, you’re on-the-spot creating those playlists in your head, as you’re experiencing things. So, what I’ve done is create those track lists, in iTunes, complete with fun title (also useful for future referencing). Now, I’ve got endless track lists for nearly every situation in life. Some examples: “Smashing Mailboxes”-for when you’re feeling angry, and very Damn-The-Man; and “Sing Me to Sleep”-full of those perfect, haunting voices that disintegrate the stress of the day. Playlists are also great gifts for people, because I think sharing music with others that represents you, and that reminds you of them, is a very, very cool thing.
4)Anonymously committing good deeds.
-This can take a million different forms-paying for the coffee of the person behind you, leaving a book that someone mentioned wanting to read in their mailbox, or raking a neighbor’s lawn while they’re at work. You get the idea. You’ve made someone’s day a little brighter, you feel good, and you’ve most likely inspired that person to be more aware of the goodness in people, and want to replicate those kindnesses. You get back from the world, what you put out there.
5)Do something that scares you.
-This sounds daunting, but I’m not talking about scaling a mountain, or voting a Tea Party candidate into office. I’m talking about doing something that maybe you’ve always wanted to, but havent, due to fear. I’ll give you an example: I’ve been writing, writing, writing since I was fourteen years old. I have boxes and boxes full of journals, notebooks, you name it. It’s what I love to do, and it makes me incredibly happy. However, it’s also incredibly personal, and sharing my writing has always been an act of vulnerability I didn’t think I was up for. This year, though, I decided to take that leap (thanks in large part to the encouragement of some great friends), and start sharing my writing, and as an extension of that, my life. It has been the most freeing, amazing experience, and I can’t even articulate what joy it’s given me. Having people respond in a such a positive manner has given me the reassurance that I did the right thing. So, moral of the story? Do what you love, and put yourself out there.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in my “Things That Make Me Happy” file. There are a million things that give us joy in life, we just have to take the time to acknowledge them. So, that said-tell us, what makes YOU happy?
Erin and I have been friends for close to 8 years now, and it’s been an eight years that has brought us from our early twenties, which were full of parties and going out and sneaking cigarettes, to our decidedly more calm early thirties. Over that time, Erin has also started a family, one that I find to be most charming. Erin is a stay-at-home Supermom to Jacob, who just started kindergarten and celebrated his fifth birthday this month, and Cooper who is a year and a half. She and her husband Chris are two of the most engaging, involved parents I’ve met, and it shows in the happiness of their boys. So when they asked me to photograph their family, I was super excited.
It goes without saying that young children can be difficult to photograph, and honestly, I understand. How boring that must be for small children. Add to that a blazing sun and warm weather, and well, you’ve got a very short window of opportunity. But luckily for me, I tend to be more comfortable shooting the candid moments, the things that give you a glimpse into who people are, and their personalities. And I think it worked out perfectly, because we got some fantastic shots of them! And, an activity involving children wouldn’t be the same without the proverbial bribe-with-sugar, so the boys got to end their day with some awesome Cookie Monster cupcakes, courtesy of my sister Kate. Here are a few shots of our time together-enjoy!