Whoa. Two blogs in one week. Don’t get used to it.
Here are a few things that make me happy today. Some things on this list make me happy at all times, and others are things I’m feeling right at this moment.
Do you have your own Joy List? If you blog about it, leave a link in the comments!
This band is my everything. If they are in town, I’ll be there. If they write a new album, I’ll buy it. The other day I listened to their For Emma vinyl on repeat for hours, and my husband asked why I wasn’t tired of it yet. Excuse me? Tired? I wake up to “Holocene,” have their NPR concert on CD in my car, and have multiple playlists on Spotify that revolve around the band members of Bon Iver. I will never grow tired of them.
Taylor Swift’s quarantine creativity
I have always appreciated Taylor Swift, but I wouldn’t call myself a Swiftie. That is, until she defied the quarantine blahs by recording two full albums, re-recording her old music, and partnering with some of the folk indie greats (Bon Iver included) to completely change up her sound and expand her reach. I started with her Bon Iver collab “Exile” (which inspired my upcoming novel, For the Birds), but then graduated to her other songs. The lyrics, my God. She kind of showed everyone what can be done when you’re stuck at home with no place to go.
Meet Cleo, the most spoiled cat in the world. Why is she spoiled? Because I just bought her a water fountain since she loves drinking out of our sink so much. This cat came to us with claws and teeth out, ready to attack anyone who touched her. But then quarantine happened and we all spent a lot of time together. Now Cleo is the most loving thing ever, ready for belly rubs from anyone who will give them. Also, she sheds a ton, so don’t come to my house if you have allergies. I take Claritin because I’m allergic to her, but she’s worth the expense…obviously, if I’m buying her water fountains.
Around the middle of summer, I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I knew something needed to give or I was going to go quarantine crazy. Enter Headspace, a meditation app. When I first signed up, I dallied with this app here and there. But over time, it’s become a regular part of my day. I start every morning with The Wake Up – a short, calming video that inspires or educates. After that, I do a 10-minute meditation. They have Focus Music that comes in handy when I’m writing or need to concentrate. And at night I fall asleep to one of their lulling Sleepscapes. I’ve noticed a definite change in my mental health since starting Headspace, and will recommend it to everyone.
I just bought my Headphones Headband* so I’m new this phenomenon, but I’m already a believer. I have airpods, which I love. But I use them so much my ears get sore. This is especially true at night when I put on one of my Sleepscapes (see my note about Headspace). This headband is super cozy, and my husband can’t hear what I’m playing when he’s right next to me. No more sore ears for me!
This Playlist – For the Birds
I started this Spotify playlist when I was writing For the Birds, adding songs that illustrated feelings and events within the novel. I also added songs I was jiving with as I wrote the book. The result is one of my favorite playlists ever as it has so many of my new favorite songs.
This Song – Muscle Memory
After having spent a fast year waiting for the next time I can get you close
I grew used to being back here like a and rhyme, soldier at his post
You call and I respond, the sparrow and the song
I miss you when you’re gone
When I am alone, I see you in the dark
I talk into the empty like you were with me
Started on a cold night, felt you in the low light
Noticing a reflex taking over me
I see you when I reach
This song hit me like a bullet, and I’m currently plotting my next book around it. I love that, since “Exile” did the same for me, and now I’m wrapping up For the Birds.
You know how they say exercise increases endorphins and makes you feel really good? I am here to say it’s true. I started with daily walks, and when that got old, I experimented with lifting dumbbells. Now I use the app FitBod 3-4x/week, working out in the privacy of my living room with dumbbells, kettlebells, and bands, and I’m starting to see muscle definition. But more than that, I’m noticing a major change in my mood. I’m affected by the moon, if you catch my drift, and one week out of the month I’m in a dark place. The past few months, that dark cloud has lifted, and I fully give credit to exercising. Plus, my butt looks really good. Oh, and to get me pumped to work out, only 90’s gangsta rap will do.
Green Plants & Fresh Flowers
I used to think flowers were kind of a waste. I mean, you buy them, they sit and shed on your countertop, and then they die and you throw them away. What a waste! And plants? I killed them. Then quarantine happened. Just like everyone else, I discovered my joy for gardening, and I began bringing plants inside. Then so much time inside inspired us to remodel our downstairs, and the space became the perfect backdrop for fresh flowers. Now, my kitchen table is constantly covered in plants, and I’m a happy girl.
P.S. Trader Joe’s has the absolute best selection of plants and flowers for such great prices.
What’s on your Joy List?
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