Numbers 11-20 of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy

April 2, 2010

I’m continuing my recent series on creating a list of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy and why I found that to be a really helpful partner in managing my weight the low-stress way last year.

11. A hot bath with a cool glass of water :

This is a cheap and easy thing, but one that I don’t do nearly enough. Best with a nice bath oil or foam, I generally prefer the floral scents that are a bit exotic, like jasmine or orange blossom. But I’m not very picky, even a hotel-issue shower gel or shampoo can be used in a pinch, and sometimes nothing but pure clean water fits my mood better. One thing I do insist on is HOT. Sometimes nice with a candle lit or music playing

12. Pretty feet after a pedicure :

I have always disliked feet. I just think they are strange and kind of gross looking, but I find that cute polished toes make them a little better. My husband, however, hates toenail polish, so most of the time I go polish-free. But a few times a year I break out the polish (usually a neutral shade, but once in a while deep red) for my own pleasure. I particularly love a good professional pedicure – when someone scrubs the yucky stuff off your heels and cleans up the cuticles and all the other little crud.

13. Wearing a pretty dress :

I’m not a fashion junkie and never have been, and my biggest criteria for clothes is comfort, followed by practicality of care & travel. A good friend of mine has lots of jersey dresses that she wears for work and travel and that opened up a new world for me, and now I like wearing a pretty dress from time to time just for the flow and femininity it brings. My husband always appreciates it when I wear a pretty dress (although we don’t always agree on what is “pretty”!)

14. Getting a massage or spa treatment :

I don’t do this often, but I really do enjoy it. I’ve always been pretty self-conscious about my body, but I somehow manage to get over that when I have a massage or spa treatment. I generally prefer the massage to most other treatments, but sometimes I experiment either as part of a “package” or because I’m always hopeful to find something else wonderful. Last year I had a “modelage sous l’eau” which was kind of a warmed sea-water massage and it was the most sensual experience of my life (excepting a few intimate experiences). My husband enjoys massages too, so with a little prodding I can usually get him to agree to this (we know a good masseur who comes to our house). I think I need to suggest this again.

15. Reading a good book :

I have always enjoyed reading and passing time with a good book has been a consistent source of pleasure for me through the years. Over the past decade or so I’ve become much more selective in my reading, and I generally read award-winning literary fiction, although I also read a good amount of stuff for work. I love to collect recommendations of books that other people have found really special, and I add those to lists (and eventually to my bookshelves). Currently in early 2010 I’m a little out of the reading habit (because I’m spending my free time on some other things) but last year reading got me through some really tough times – and I devoured over 50 books.

16. Watching a movie at home :

We live TV-free, and we’re really happy with that decision. When I was younger (and single) I had a TV and at times I would have the thing on for hours and spend my time and brain cells on the dumbest stuff. I would almost always turn off the TV disgusted with myself for spending time that way. Nowdays we have no TV, although we do have a great setup for watching DVDs. We have a projector and screen and my husband has amassed a massive DVD collection – we have over 800 movies and probably 35 TV series. We usually watch about 2 movies a week and maybe an episode of a TV series (on a night when we have a little time but not enough for a movie). Because we have such a nice setup we end up watching really good films (most of the time) in a really comfortable environment and can stop for tea & nature breaks when we need to.

17. Really good really dark chocolate :

Living in Paris I have easy access to some of the best chocolatiers in the world, some French, some Belgian, and it’s fun to try different ones. Some of the strong points of the various chocolate superstars are lost on me, since I like my chocolate SIMPLE (just a plain dark bar is best for me), so the filled chocolates & truffles & holiday concoctions that make these people famous are usually not a big hit for me (there are, of course, exceptions!). And when I say Dark, I mean it : 70% is lightweight for me, my usual choices are 85% or even 99% (although 99% cocoa eating chocolate is hard to come by, even in Paris). Having the really good, really dark chocolate around really helps my dieting. The taste is powerful and lasting, so a little goes a long way, the calorie counts are manageable and the antioxidant & happy-feeling chemical stuff are dynamite. I can pass up a lot of so-so temptations knowing that I have really good really dark chocolate available – so I try to keep some with me at all times when I travel & of course I keep it at home.

18. Going on a hike

I don’t hike as much as I’d like, we’ve lost the habit and living in a city it means it needs a real effort and planning, but I love hiking.  I like the clean natural air, the hard-beating heart, the effort, the views, the chance to appreciate nature.  When I envision myself living a “healthy active life” going on hikes regularly is a big part of that vision, so I hope to do more of this in the coming months — and years!

19. Listening to the sound of the ocean :

I grew up in Colorado, a state that is completely land-locked, but I’ve always loved the sound of the ocean. One of my favorite things is being in a place where I can open a window and hear the waves and wind and birds at the sea. I don’t listen to environmental soundtracks very often, but every so often I do turn on the “ocean” sound on my iPhone and relax for a few minutes.

20. Getting a good night’s sleep :

Most of the time I sleep less than I’d like. I am busy doing stuff at night, I go to bed later than planned. I almost always set my alarm to wake up earlier than I would wake naturally. This is modern life for most of us, of course. But every so often I listen to my body telling me it’s tired and either I sleep in late or I go to bed early (or very rarely, I do both) and its always a shockingly amazing feeling to feel what a good night’s sleep is really like.

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